Letters to Ghosts

LETTERS TO GHOSTS ~ 6.24.18

So, I’ve resumed therapy and so far, I like the counselor. However, with my dad having passed away in ’92, digging into some stuff I’ve discovered this past year is proving draining and is most certainly affecting me. I feel poorly. Emotionally, I mean.

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(Awaiting therapy appointment)

Not even poorly, really. More like sad… distracted… frustrated… apathetic at times.

Physically, I’m still feeling some better overall, and that’s huge. I can do so much more – in helping run the household, as well as having fun evenings out.

Received a check from Social Security for back pay for student benefits, and the approval and timing is a blessing. God always comes through for me. For my family.

Anyway, next assignment, write a letter to Dad.

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Yikes.

Have any of you written to ghosts of the past?

How I Feel

HOW I FEEL ~ 6.15.18

Having an extremely rough time of it. I feel quite alone. I did want to check in and share that simply because this blog is supposed to relay the ups and downs of Bipolar. I feel alone, abandoned, ignored, without any value, and as though I’ve nothing to contribute. I know the facts are this is not true, but I still *feel* these emotions just now. Take care of yourselves, folks. ✌

TWO HOURS LATER –

Trying to fight back against this depression and the intrusive, harmful thoughts. I had said earlier that I was going to take a break from talking and an online presence, but I don’t need to isolate – whether online or in day to day living. Tomorrow, the family is going to take my husband out to eat for Father’s Day. I’m going to try to get to an evening church service on Sunday night, and set up something on MeetUp. I appreciate any support. I’m trying.

Energy Zap

Rough day. Physically hurting and feeling very down on myself. More of things I wouldn’t say to others but am okay saying to myself, putting myself down. Depression and other mental illnesses lie and manipulate. I know that as a fact, just like reading from a textbook. Today, however, I don’t *feel* it. These days drain the energy, to be sure. Be good to yourselves.

Kate and Anthony

KATE & ANTHONY ~ 6.8.18

 

Hard, hard week. Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.

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According to cdc.gov, on average there are 123 suicides per day.

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So, Kate and Anthony were 2 of the 861 that died at their own hand this week. Heartbreaking.

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Suicide and Mental Health issues do not discriminate among race, gender, age, socioeconomic status, perceived celebrity, and more. It can and DOES truly strike anyone.

Living with Bipolar, and having stared down the barrel of suicide’s gun many times myself, this scares me.

How many times do those who successfully commit suicide think about doing it before hand, and even try and are not successful? If I’m being absolutely honest, which I’m trying to do because otherwise, what is the point of this blog, suicide scares me. So many days, people successfully talk themselves out of taking their lives, but all too often, a day comes when they fail, and are ultimately successful in taking their lives. I’m scared that one day I too will fail. Hopefully, this healthy fear will keep me here until The Lord calls me home. I try for myself and for my family.

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Any of you struggling right now, please contact someone for help – suicide hotline, website, text, therapist, support group, doctor, friend or family. God bless. Let’s help keep each other safe, friends.

Gifts

A quick word on gifts. I gave a gift of my time, love, attention and affection to my son and my mom today. Both of whom I live with, and both were feeling down, for separate, but significant issues. By the time we were done “hanging out” all three of us felt better. Giving of myself because I care for loved ones also blesses me.

Afterward, I watched the most recent three X-Men movies straight in a row, doing nothing, except applying the occasional ice pack on stubborn, problematic joints. I gave myself the gift of self-care. In doing that, I feel rested, stronger, yet somehow lighter and happier.

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Sometimes, we just need to treat ourselves as well as we treat others, and I know that I personally forget that. I would never dream of treating my family and friends the way I treat myself. I would never dream of speaking to my family and friends the way I speak to myself. Why is that?

I don’t know that I have an answer to that. In fact, this isn’t the way I imagined this blog entry unfolding. I was just going to talk about a nice day and how groovy that is.

I’m glad that I’ve tried to teach my son to care for himself and to try to establish healthy boundaries, without being selfish or self-centered. Hopefully, he will instill that in his children at an even younger age that I did with him, and I think part of that needs to be with actions that can be seen. We can advise others of something, but if we don’t walk the walk and talk the talk, it’s all irrelevant.

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I guess to try to wrap up this rambling I’m doing, I just want to say today was fun because I treated myself to what I needed. I hope my son learns this necessary and vital lesson and passes it along to his friends and family. That’s all we can do, I think. Live a healthy life, a happy one, and pour our love and positivity onto the people around us – help them grow into something beautiful that will be around long after us, like the bloody Coleus and Salvia I’m trying to grow in the flower beds along side the young trees in the yard who will be here long after I’m gone.

Open

OPEN ~ 6.1.18

It’s an absolute crime not to get up from my seat and walk over and open the blinds to allow sunlight in and see the birds flying about. It seems I cannot will myself to get up and do it, though. The cat seems intrigued as to what’s going on out there. Hmm.

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I’ll have to look and open the blinds, just because I don’t want to do so. It’s important for me to take steps like that and not slip into a rather deep, dark hole.

I’m feeling alone today. Have been for a few days. I feel like even though I am busy and ill, I take the time to reach out to others, but I don’t feel any reciprocation. Not from friends or family.

I just want to retreat further within myself. Trying not to, though.

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Trying…..

Anger Aggression and Violence from Bipolar

Number One is bound to push a few buttons.

My thoughts on the first item listed in the blog link attached? I think it’s a slippery slope. Yes, these behaviors and actions can occur, but we don’t want misunderstandings. We’re trying to end stigma, so we must be careful.

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https://www.bphope.com/blog/three-bipolar-disorder-symptoms-no-one-wants-to-talk-about/

How Can I Help Her

HOW CAN I HELP HER ~ 5.30.18

 

As I drove to pick up my son from school this afternoon, I noticed the lady that is known around town as being somewhat mentally ill or “off” and rides her bike. She usually looks clean and put together…enough…but clearly you can tell something is, as I said, off.

Today, I noticed she had a dog with her. This is a new development. I was thinking to myself, where did she find the dog, and the poor dog looks so scraggly.

As I drove on, I questioned myself, why was I more concerned about the dog? Why is it known and *accepted* throughout town that there’s this lady who rides her bike at all times of day and night, and doesn’t have a home that any of us can figure out, and sometimes stops and just dances on the street…clearly unsafe. Why am I not more concerned about how I can help her? I realized the answer is, it’s overwhelming. And it’s overwhelming because I don’t know how to go about helping her.

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I don’t know where she lives, better worded as *stays*. If she doesn’t have an address that makes things even more difficult, such as receiving benefits. She clearly needs ongoing mental health assistance. How do I help with those issues? I could give her some money or some food, but that will only last her a couple of days.

And I just got to thinking…why as a community do we allow people like this to roam around like feral cats that we feed and water and do *enough* to keep them alive and comfortable but not really help solve the core issue. This is the second small town I’ve lived in where there’s been such an individual. I’m not sure if this is common, but I think that it most certainly is. I’ve come to the realization that I need to do some research here in my town, and in general, to educate myself on how I can help this particular lady and others I see in this situation.

Have any of you experienced something similar?

Two MH Docs Worth Your Time

Two Educational and Inspired Documentaries ~ 5.27.18

“Being Bipolar” and “OC87” – two amazing and courageous documentaries about Bipolar, Anxiety and more that will educate and inspire. Try them. You won’t regret it. Perfect for people with the disorder(s), family, providers & patients, students and those seeking answers.

Addition: I was asked where one can see these documentaries. I believe I saw OC87 a year or so back on Netflix, but in searching now, I see them both on Amazon Streaming only. Being Bipolar can be rented or “watched with ads” and OC87 is available for free if you have Amazon Prime.

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Assassin’s Creed

ASSASSIN’S CREED ~ 5.24.18

There is something that needs saying. People slam the movie Assassin’s Creed with Michael Fassbender, and they’re just flat wrong.

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It’s an interesting premise, and there’s solid acting by Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. And let’s face it, folks, Michael is so good looking. What’s not to like? 😉

Seriously though, I think I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate superhero type movies because it’s nice to see characters fight for what’s right and honorable, because frankly, that can be hard to find in this world we reside today.

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Just enjoy the view. It’s good for your mental health. 🙂

Do you have a favorite movie, actor/actress or book as your go-to for relaxation? I’m loving Marvel these days. Tom Hiddleston is a great actor. I still love reaching for Shakespeare. Birding magazines are lovely. The music artist Halsey is a good chunk of my evening.

What about y’all?

Remote

REMOTE ~ 5.21.18

Guess you would have seen with last blog entry, several pills caught my eye. Feeling a bit more… tempted? Felt weaker? Wanted an ending, even if not a great one? Remembered some times that a drink could take the edge off that, or a ton could seal the deal.

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Regardless, it’s obvious I’m off. More than usual. When I am, and I reckon anyone with MH issues, do be careful what you watch.

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Patrick Melrose messed me up today… badly. I knew what I was getting into, but it catapulted me right back to younger years, and it was a doozy. I had to do some deep breathing and take a PRN. But I survived… so far.

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Tucked Away

TUCKED AWAY ~ 5.18.18

Don’t most relationships (of any kind) have their ups and downs? Moments we want to hold onto; moments we would prefer to forget?

Sometimes, in writing these blog entries and describing things from a certain point of view, or when I’m in the midst of an episode, it can appear confusing as to how I feel/felt about my loved ones. (Believe me, it’s worse inside my head.) Do you really even have to be Bipolar to understand to some degree what I’m saying? I think so, if people are honest.

Last night’s entry mentioned difficulties with my mom and dad. My mom admits to compartmentalizing periods of her life that caused her pain. They’re tucked away so she doesn’t feel those emotions. Here’s the thing, I was around during those times, so I’m kinda put away on difficult to reach, dusty shelves, as well. It has made for a challenging relationship with her, and I do not agree with her keeping me in the house that she did with my step-father. She knows this. I’m not telling you a secret. But today I wanted to take a minute to say that she has helped me in my life and loved me in the way that she uniquely loves. She’s helped me through back surgeries and a horrible first failure of a marriage. She helped me raise my son when his father left and I was working 60 hour weeks. And we continue to get to know one another in efforts to become closer. We can laugh together, too.

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Now my dad. That’s a mess. I can’t describe that right now. Not well, anyway. Problem is, I thought he was one thing, and I learned some disturbing things last year that I still don’t know how to process. Until last year, even though he died when I was 15, I felt he was at the core of molding who I have become. Maybe he still is, but with the things I discovered, I don’t know what that says about me. I’m not trying to be ambiguous here. I’m actually going to begin counseling next week to try to sort some of this because it has really screwed with my head. As I do, I’ll share more. For now, I’ll say that I loved playing catch and football with him, and he taught me to play Spades and kick butt at it.

I’m thankful I have my husband and son. I’ll share more about this journey as it unfolds. Thanks to you all, as always. xo

FAKE

FAKE ~ 5.16.18

So, I was going through an album in search of a couple of photos in particular, and I ran across some of interest. This won’t have a tremendous amount of rhyme and reason, but there should be some continuity throughout.

First photo of discussion, I had short hair, not really dark yet, pink shirt. I was in 5th grade. Eleven years old. When I see this photo, here is what I see.

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A girl who is trying. Trying to smile for the camera. Trying to keep curly, frizzy hair under control. Trying to be skinny enough, which I maintain is different from thin. Thin is healthy. Skinny is too much. In this photo, I was neither, but I wasn’t obese, either. However, people in my class called me names, especially one boy in particular named Robert. I can still remember the day Robert called me a fat pig. I stopped eating and began exercising all the time. I lost weight fast. I didn’t feel well. I wasn’t eating properly, and I had no parental guidance helping me lose weight in a healthy way. I should have been told that I was not fat, but that I could become healthier in even healthier ways. That didn’t happen, though, because my mom was busy being depressed and hiding away from my horrendous step-father, and I was busy myself ducking and hiding from said monster.

Next two photos with that weird vest thing I’m wearing, well, I was forced to wear that by my step-mother.

She often had my step-sister and I dress alike for some reason. I never understood it and was allowed no decision making of my own, even though I packed and took my own clothes along to wear at my dad’s house. And I was always made to pose for pictures.

Step-mother would chatter, “Smile. Don’t pout. Why do you look like you’re hurting? Stand up straight. Fix your hair; see how nicely your sister’s hair looks?” On and on that would go.

I ask you, if you took these photos of your kid, and the same expression was on his/her face over and over, would you want that in the photo album, and more importantly, why in the hell didn’t anyone ask me what was going on in my life? Dad didn’t. My mom didn’t. Step-people didn’t care. Lord, if you just look at a few photos, can’t you tell I just wanted to be left alone to find my own happiness?

Next photo of me in the green dress, with the purse and bonnet, I will admit I loved the dress. But that smile was fake.

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Flip through most of my photo albums. Fake. Fake. Fake. I got really good at it in my later years. The pic with my hair a bit longer, pink backpack and wearing a skirt, still called fat by my step-mother and step-sister.

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And hey, again, Dad, what the actual f**k? Why did you allow them to do that? Oh wait! I can’t ask you because you’re dead. In fact, you knew you were in serious medical trouble and close to dying, and you still didn’t seek help and ended up dropping dead on a baseball field. Always a good time when I drive by baseball fields. Thanks for that.

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Then that fabulous photo with my mother, you see how we’re smiling at one another, that’s one of the first times in my whole life we began to get to know one another, because my step-father kept us separated, though in the same home, for years. I can say that to a certain extent only though because we could have gotten out of there, left, broken free but she chose not to do so. His ultimate removal from our lives had nothing to do with a decision she made.

The continuity I mentioned earlier, the common theme is what? Bingo! Faking it in every photo.

Pay attention to the people in your life. Treat them well. Love them. You don’t want to be left with a bunch of photos that only serve to tell lies.

Margot Kidder – What Is Known

MARGOT KIDDER, WHAT IS KNOWN ~ 5.14.18

I took a hit today, and the mental health community took a blow.

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As I write down these few thoughts late on Monday night, May 14, 2018, doctors and family officially say Margot Kidder’s cause of death is unknown.

 

Here are things we do know.

We know she was THE Lois Lane. Huge thanks to her for that alone.

When later in life she had a manic breakdown and her Bipolar Disorder became known to any and everyone, she learned what she could about her “disorder” (that’s bulls**t, it’s a disease, but I digress) and how to go about feeling better.

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What is known is that she became an advocate for those around her with mental health issues, particularly Bipolar, and it paved the way to help those of us also unfortunately suffering with Bipolar, like myself and my son.

What is known is that her work will live on, and that I owe her thanks, just as I did with Carrie Fisher.

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What is known is the medication that most of us have to take to survive this cruel disorder is a difficult journey, to say the very least. From the decision to trying meds and surviving side effects, adverse reactions, or hospitalizations, all the way to finding the right combo. (I would not even dare tell you how many meds I have to take to survive. It’s in the double digits. That includes supplements, as well. So many people say it doesn’t have to be that way, and if you believe that, or better yet you live it, I’m glad you’re not faced with the whole ugly mess.) It is incredible to note that Margot had two extremely public breakdowns, one of which included her disappearance for four days and an attempted rape. In 2007, she said she hadn’t had a manic episode in 11 years thanks to orthomolecular treatment (nutritional supplementation), which most quality specialists who care for their patients will discuss with him/her and try if it seems one is a good candidate. (I’m on Depakote, by the way. #TeamJen 😣)

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What is known is that Ms. Kidder was active in the women’s movement, as well as the peace movement. Whether you’re a #metoo believer or not, support the #Dreamers or any other work she did, the attention she drew, the things she said, the slander thrown at her, all of that helped you. Helped us.

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Never forget who came before us and the work they did so that we can voice our opinions.

Look, Bipolar didn’t kill her, but this I can say with zero doubt; this I know. It certainly did not help. There is evidence that each time we experience Bipolar episodes, gray matter is destroyed. Meds, well we talked about that. ECT treatments. 😧

What I want to say is, thank you, Margot Kidder, for all you did to help me as a woman with Bipolar Disorder in 2018.

I once read that you said the scene in the first Superman movie when you and The Man of Steel flew high above the gorgeous, lit city, it was a close depiction to what it feels like flying high in a manic episode.

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I know that you’re flying and free now, and I’m so happy there won’t be a crash at the end of this one.

Mother’s Day 2018

MOTHER’S DAY 2018

Mother’s Day can be wonderful, or it can be a day of complexities and sometimes pain. A good relationship with your mom and/or kid(s) is ideal.

However, let’s be realistic. There are troubled relationships as well.

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You want to wish your sister a happy day, but you’ve had a falling out. Maybe your mom has passed awsy. Maybe your mom warned you about wire hangers and other such insanities that somehow warranted abuse and cruelties.

Maybe you want desperately to be a mom but cannot have children. Maybe you’re a new stepmom struggling to win your stepkids’ love. Maybe your daughter or niece has died.

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How was Mother’s Day for you?

I Need Help

I NEED HELP ~ 5.10.18

So, I’m going to follow the advice I give others and be vulnerable here.

*I AM OFFICIALLY ASKING FOR HELP.*

I’m in need of encouragement from people I’ve met through my blog, as well as family and friends. I’m depressed.

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It’s bad. I’ve tried to find upbeat moments and days, and I have indeed found some. This has been an almost insurmountable feat, however. I am apathetic, totally flat. Usual things that bring me happiness, no interest. Wanting to be awake – psssh, yeah right! Having to push myself hard to go outside. Can’t settle but don’t want to move. Just have that feeling I always do when I’m bad.

I want to go home.

Where is your home? Is it the apartment or house in which you now live, or more of a fantasy? Something from a fairy tale, perhaps?

Stuff That Works for Me

STUFF THAT WORKS FOR ME ~ 5.8.18

Yesterday, I mentioned self-care. Today, I’m going to share two things that help me. Small, little, helpful, easy to do type things.

1. I wear a locket with a felt tab inside it that holds and diffuses various scents. My favorite is a combo of peppermint, orange and lemon. It helps me feel more peppy and sharpens my focus.

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2. I go outside. Even if I don’t walk miles, just getting outdoors and smelling the grass, watching the sage and rosemary grow, excitedly checking on the peaches and apricots, delighted to see the bumblebees, butterflies and birds dancing here and there…all of this helps me be in the moment. I feel thankful. Blessed. I pray. I come up with ideas for art and writing. I feel like I have time to myself, which is something I very much need for stability.

Do you have a sure fire go-to that helps ground or calm you?

Gotta Breathe

Gotta Breathe ~ 5.7.18

Hey, guys. Just a quick shout-out to all of the new followers in this last week or so. I’m sorry I hadn’t posted many blog entries in this last month and a half, but our family has experienced three losses, and we’ve been traveling and attending funerals, as well as one seminar. Just quite busy.

Anyway, what I wanted to mention is today I had my second epidural injection of Lidocaine in my back in order to help with chronic pain in my lower left back since three surgeries, and in order to help with fibromyalgia.

During this injection, apparently when the pain was quite intense, I was forgetting to breathe. So the doctor very wisely reminded me to do so, and I began taking in deep breaths and exhaling out. Within a few minutes, I was feeling much better and I was able to control the pain that I was feeling and my reactions to it for the rest of the time until the procedure was finished. Afterward, it reminded me of how we (those with mental health issues) are supposed to take care of ourselves with self-care daily, just as we do stretching, walking, biking, water aerobics, and just like we hit the gym – we are also supposed to do some deep breathing exercises, some progressive muscle relaxation, some guided meditation, listening to calm music & calm sounds – that kind of thing to help us keep a baseline of calm and to help us have the tools and equipment to later in the day handle any anxiety that comes up and any unforeseen difficult circumstances. The idea behind all of this is that because we practice self-care in those ways everyday, it will be an immediate reaction to help us get through the acute times of emotional angst and pain.

So, hopefully today I received an epidural injection that will help with my back pain in just a few days, and I know I definitely received a great reminder because I had forgotten to be doing the daily deep breathing and other exercises that can help.

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Tell me, is there anything in particular that helps you with mental & emotional health self-care each day? I’d love to hear about it.

 

(image: Pinterest, saved by Nevine Sultan, PhD, NCC, LPC)

See the Eyes

Informative and educational article from bphope by Julie Fast about eye changes (color, shape) during euphoric mania, dysphoric mania, hypomania and depression. (It also defines those terms.) I know for myself, I’ve seen the sparkle, and conversely, the narrowing and seemingly black coloring.

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https://www.bphope.com/blog/your-eyes-hold-the-clues-how-to-read-the-eyes-to-spot-euphoric-and-dysphoric-bipolar-disorder-mania/

An Unfortunate Rage

Unfortunate Rage, excellent article.

Unfortunately true of many with Bipolar, including myself. Though I do not remember such events (think screaming and throwing a fit on the front lawn where neighbors could see, or destroying a beautiful vase given to us as a wedding gift), my husband encountered them frequently and acutely for six months to a year. Finally, I was correctly diagnosed and began helpful therapy and medication.

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https://www.bphope.com/bipolar-anger-unravel-your-wrath/

Dear Brain Please Hush

Yesterday, I drove a six hour trip home from up north in our state. About four hours into the trip, the thought occurred to me, “My mind hasn’t stopped this entire time.” My brain does not shut up. Ever. It’s why, in order to go to sleep, I cannot lie in a completely silent room. My mind would wind me up even more than usual, and often severe anxiety kicks in as a result.

Even when I’m not upset or anxious, some chatter is going on, such as songs playing over and over from a certain artist. Even if the song cuts off, my mind is onto the next thing. I cannot keep up with the thoughts, whether good ideas for writing, projects I would like to begin, or obsessive thoughts about a small mistake I made at work a decade ago. There’s a ton of second guessing myself and past decisions, too.

Yes, technically they’re called obsessive thoughts, and I have racing thoughts as well. I honestly don’t care about correct terminology for now.

What I’m trying to say is I would love for my mind to quieten down sometimes. I think it’s one reason I’m enjoying audiobooks vs. written, hardback novels, for now.

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Do any of you face this issue? I’m guessing some of you do. And can you get the chatter to stop? How?

Much appreciated. ✌ I love hearing from you guys.

Curious About ECT

I’m curious. Those of you with Bipolar and/or other mental illness, have you tried ECT treatments? If so, why and how did it go?

I’ve heard a select few say it’s the only thing that has worked for them.

From what I’ve read, though it is no longer barbaric, it still isn’t completely understood as to *why* it works.

So, when I think of ECT, I cringe, but then I remember that most of these meds I take for the Bipolar, there’s not a clear understanding there either as to how and why they help. And i take several every day.

Any feedback or thoughts on this?

Catch Up

Catch Up. 4.26.18

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Hi, all. Just wanted to drop a quick line letting you know I’ve been busy with unexpected travel three times this month, two of which were deaths in the family.

I’m in a lot of physical pain, and I’ve been hit with bad news after bad news. This weekend, I’m going to try to catch up and share a bit about this last month, as well as some thoughts on two HBO documentaries, and another I found on Amazon Streaming when searching “Bipolar.”

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The documentaries are Off Label, I Am Evidence and Being Bipolar.

Thought I might also share some tips that help me stay sane and productive, with as little anxiety as possible while traveling.

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I write all of this as a preview for readers, but mostly as a reminder to myself. That leads me to ask you a question.

*When you are down, does your memory suffer? If so, why do you think that is?*

Homeland

So, let’s discuss Homeland. ~ 4.9.18

A popular Showtime series, currently in Season Seven, starring Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin. A show filled with tons of suspense. An espionage thriller.

Too bad it’s also filled with a ton of misleading fiction about Bipolar Disorder.

Actually I should say up front, when they portray Danes’ character, Carrie Mathison, finally going off the deep end due to her manic episodes – that! That they get correct!

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Here’s what’s NOT accurate about the character’s struggle with Bipolar Disorder. That it is in any way okay to stop taking medication. That there is any justification for it. That those with Bipolar are so gifted and brilliant, that if we’re the only one of us running in our circle of friends or co-workers, only we can solve the our little group’s problems.

It is irresponsible of this show to suggest that even though the heroine struggles, fails and hurts others, ultimately, it all ends up okay in the end. That it was necessary. In fact, Mathison swoops in and saves the day every time. No one else in the land of CIA, FBI or other acronyms can solve the threats faced on the show. Let me give you some idea of what it is I’m trying to say here.

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At the end of Season One, we see Carrie choose to undergo ECT treatments because she wants to forget some bad stuff that went down between herself and handsome traitor/wait is he a traitor, Brody. She wanted to forget that unfortunate romance because, again, it’s gotta be rough not knowing if you’re carrying on with a married traitor. So, in Homeland’s thinking, let’s take advantage of what is most often a last resort for those of us with Bipolar, and yeah. Strap me down and zap me a few times doc. Loving me some ECT! I know many people with Bipolar. I have never known someone to happily elect ECT in order to lose memories. In fact, most often it is avoided because memories are wiped from our minds. Dangerous and misleading.

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In Season Three, we think she lost her marbles again, and Danes is fantastic at showing us what that looks like, ugly cry and all. But we later discover that she purposefully quit medication in order to lose those marbles in a scheme hatched with her good buddy Saul, once again in order to ultimately save the day. She was outed as a Bipolar in Senate committee hearings, by pal Saul again, when he revealed she was an agent in medical trouble and experiencing paranoia due to the mental illness. The blame for bad stuff that went down lands on her. But wait. Later, after moves and counter-moves, we learn Carrie and Saul decided together that she would stop her medication – primarily Lithium – with the intentions of receiving blame for more things gone awry. Later, when back on a medication cocktail that is therapeutic and with sanity having returned, what happens? Yes! Carrie swoops in and discovers who bombed Langley! See? She had to go off her meds, right? Right. Only Carrie could have achieved that by discontinuing her meds and being thrown into another mental health hospital.

It’s going to be even more repetitive from this point further, so I’ll try to summarize a bit. She made it through Season Four taking her medication. However, what happens in Season Five? Right. Stopped her meds, heroically telling current boyfriend that when she spins out too far, he needs to then force her to take that med cocktail. So, here it’s important for me to say, if you ever try to get someone with Bipolar to take their medication while they’re in a manic state, good luck to you. We’ll either laugh you under the table or knock your damn head off. But hey, she stopped the meds, put a bunch of pictures and diagrams on the wall, and solved the mystery, like only Carrie can. Did I mention she sent her daughter to stay with her sister in order that she might embark upon this noble quest? Sigh.

Season Six – I promise we’re almost out of seasons – this is a season in which she took her meds. Yay! She’s acting responsibly! She’s learned from her mistakes. Only. Wait. No, again? Yes, again.

We’re sailing into Season Seven, and again, only Carrie can save the day, by stopping all meds, then buying meds from a dealer she seems to know, and has her friend tell her when to take what med. Sound familiar? Yes. Oh, and this friend turns out to be a traitor, too. Seems like she doesn’t make good, solid decisions off meds. (Funny, that’s how it goes in real life too, so we really don’t need Homeland encouraging discontinuation of meds). Oh, and yes, she’s really effing up with her kid. Neglect. Almost hitting her with a car. While Carrie is “coercing” a confession from that new traitor I mentioned –  coercing as in seducing, we’re in the sack, all clothes off, about to achieve the Big O – the feds (I feel cool saying that) bust down the doors. Did I mention her young daughter is in the next room? Sigh.

After tonight’s episode, she’s still off meds and finally has become manic again with full-on psychosis, hallucinations and all.

So, are we just strolling down Homeland’s memory lane, or am I actually trying to make a point? It’s the latter.

Even though I have enjoyed most of the episodes from day one ground zero until now, I must say I hate how they romanticize Bipolar. Only poor, misunderstood, persecuted Carrie can figure out the answers, no matter if she hurts family, friends or herself, because eventually, everyone will see it was worth it. Carrie had to do it!

The danger for fans here is that not everyone is educated about the disorder, or mental illnesses in general. So, while I can watch and appreciate for entertainment value, others can get a false impression. When someone with Bipolar quits their meds, many, many things can go badly. And fast.

First of all, the body can go into shock. Seizures and even death. Secondly, once the meds are out of the system, one of two very dark things will most likely occur. Severe depression, or severe mania. Depression that smothers you down deep so far from anything good, any light, that often times a person takes extreme measures and tries to commit suicide. Conversely, if one becomes manic, a myriad of things can occur. Hyper-sexuality that often leads to extramarital affairs, over-spending and derailment of finances that can land one into tens of thousands of debt, hallucinations and hearing of voices that can cause one to hurt themselves or threaten others.

Most people who don’t know much about Bipolar seem to only know that last bit I mentioned. That is because shows like Homeland, with a huge fan base, play fast and loose with the truth. Most people only see a situation that has become dangerous with the Bipolar sufferer hurting themselves or others. A series that is viewed by so many does have a responsibility to air truths, even in fiction. The stakes are high.

For whom, you might wonder. Teens just being diagnosed and working with the doctor to figure out what medication best helps them, when they see this misrepresentation, many will combat mom and dad, rebel and be absolutely certain they don’t need meds. The general public that thinks we just pick and choose ECT and expect an effect much like what we see in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a movie in which painful memories can be selected and eradicated from the mind. All too often, Bipolars and those with Schizophrenia are the second to be blamed for mass shootings or school shootings, coming in just under “the terrorists.” Homeland could also speak to the person who is protective of their manic states. That might be hard to understand, but all too often, when we take our meds, we lose some of our creativity and sharper thinking. The medication dulls things somewhat. It’s a trade off; the lesser of two evils. We don’t need fictional characters promoting poor decisions.

Look, it is extremely difficult work to stay mentally healthy and sound with this disorder, and shows like Homeland can be an insult to us. We take our meds daily. We see therapists/counselors. We have families and successful careers. We are a part of our communities. We make sound decisions, something Homeland and Carrie Mathison do not.

As I close this blog entry, I glance toward the tv and scrolling across the ROKU screen I see beautiful Claire Danes in a Homeland advertisement. So perhaps I am actually talking about something timely and of significant relevance after all.

RESET DAYS

RESET DAYS ~ 4.4.18

Here’s a thing. Well, here are a few things.

There are a few things I notice when I’m starting to tank. Tank, as in, I’m so overwhelmed, it’s a danger to myself.

1. Everything I read on social media infuriates me, even when it’s perfectly nice. It makes no sense, but unfortunately, despite BP being a brain chemistry problem, it affects my emotions. Skews my perception. When my best of friends are saying things that plum piss me off, I finally notice I’m tanking. And by the way, I say piss me off because that’s the truth. Saying it makes me angry doesn’t cut it because “piss” relays that dirty, mean-spirited, nasty factor.

2. I don’t want to get out of bed. Okay, so most days I don’t wanna get outta bed. Like 95% of days. But when it’s so bad I’m afraid to move, even to use the restroom, or feed the cat who we all know I love dearly, then I recognize that, “Houston, we have a problem!”

3. I hurt more everywhere. Physically, I’m discussing here.

So, what do I do now?

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First, I try to maintain a low profile on social media. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but sometimes I fail at this.

Next, I do extra stretches, extra walking outside in the backyard.

I pray and read devotionals.

I listen to my “Peppy Make Me Wanna Move” playlist.

Finally, I call a RESET DAY.

During said reset day, I get lost in a book, as of late an audiobook, and color while listening.

And my loving, supportive family here in the home respects that I need to take the day as I need it. I love them for that.

Then, start over tomorrow. Reset.

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Black

BLACK ~ 4.4.18

Here’s a thing. Great mood or not, Johnny Cash music speaks to the situation every time. 🎵🎶🎧🎵🎶🎧 The Man in Black. Every single time.

As for me.

Truth?

It’s not peppy social media post type stuff. It’s the negative stuff most people fail to post.

SPOILER ALERT: LIFE (and its truths and this post) AREN’T ALWAYS PRETTY.

Miserable. That’s me. Okay? Miserable. So miserable and tired of fighting it. And for effin what? Even if I crawl my way back to the top, I’ll be back here soon. It is the reality I face with my day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month Bipolar. And I’m so extremely tired of the physical pain.

And I love you folks, I promise I do, but don’t tell me to pray it away with name it and claim it, and don’t tell me to drink a smoothie. Sometimes, it really is okay to say, “I have no idea what you face, or what to say, but I’m listening. I care. I’m here. It’s important to me you’re on this planet.”

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Keep On

KEEP ON ~ 4.2.18

Whatever you’re doing to make it through the day, keep on doing it. Congrats as well for getting it done. Whether you took it by waking hours today, hour by hour, minute by minute, or even second by second. I’ve been there. Recently. Often. Whether it’s in your home, or a hospital, or even a mental health facility…you’re doing what you must to keep moving. To keep LIVING, even when you don’t want to breathe that next breath.

Just keep swimming.

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Posting photos to prove I’m alive. 😉 I hope you’re all well. I’ve not blogged much. Had to take my mom on more travels. Her brother passed away.

Tired.