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Fix me.

4 Jul

 

Warning-this is very much a steam of consciousness, whining because I have no where to vent this kind of thing. Any desire to call me a whiny baby will be met with a STRONG desire to beat the fuck out of someone. This is the ONLY place I can deal with any of this-if you can’t either be supportive or silent, you aren’t welcome. I’m in absolutely NO mood for trolling.

 

 

It’s the emptiness inside that scares me.

Partially from events, partially from a likely imbalance with my meds and PMS, I have spent the majority of this week visualizing my death at my own hands. And I mean really-I’ve been having to catch myself from walking towards the cabinet where my medication menagerie lives. We’ve been here before. Really. About this time last year in fact.

I don’t think I’m in any real danger-I’m still rational enough, and I have an appointment soon, and besides, after you live for years playing out how exactly you’re going to die-what you’re going to do, where you’ll lie to sleep forever, what the note will say, you become rather callous towards the entire thing. Blase even. It’s just death after all.

My fierce curiosity to see what exactly does happen when I die helps me not worry much. At least dead I won’t have to deal with faulty brain chemistry. I hope. (man that would fucking SUCK if I die and wake up alive somewhere else with this POS brain of mine, wired crosseyed and burnt at the edges…)

But the emptiness, the soul sucking, blinding emptiness where I stare at those around me and believe, truly and utterly believe that they will leave me, that the intentionally hurt me by refusing to listen when I say things bother me, the void filled with an utter hatred for my body and a repulsion when I look myself in the face in the mirror-these are the things that scare me and leave me blasting out at anyone near me.

I feel undervalued, I feel jealous, I feel scared, I feel achingly lonely. I feel angry that I don’t know which feelings are real, which ones I’m allowed to have and which ones I’m not.

I have gone from having a relatively ok grip on my self image to have one that could be represented in negative values in about 2 weeks. It feels overwhelming-it clings to me, whispering that it will never go away, and that every step it will tell me how disgusting and horrid I am, how I’m silly to expect anyone to love me or want me, and that I should count myself lucky that anyone does, if they truly do. I have gone from trusting the things around me to waiting for them to collapse in on me, and I have begun that most awful of bipolar traits-pushing away the one person who loves me.

Even as I write that, the voice whispers “If it’s true that he does.” The paranoia won’t leave me, and it drives me to want to just break away from everyone around me and disappear. Disappear where no one can disappoint me or hurt me, snap my trust in half. The paranoia tells me that all things end as they have before-be it in 6 months or 15 years. Those voices tell me it’s just a matter of time before my heart is rent in two yet again.

Knowing as I do that I would never survive it, my brain leaps to suicide as a viable option for protection. What scary is the emptiness doesn’t even acknowledge my daughters. It only sees me, and the spiralling nothing I’m becoming, prone to hysterics lately, and not even knowing what to believe, what’s real, crying and crying and feeling a burning pain in my gut that’s likely an ulcer.

I don’t know what’s real.

I don’t know if I would know betrayal if it happened since I obviously can never tell happiness when it happens. I know I feel hollow and cold inside, and I’m playing a dangerous game with myself, keeping the exterior mundane and normal while the echoes repeat that they don’t care, and none of it matters.

I focus on telling myself, when I can, that it isn’t real, that I am worthy of at least some passing affection and respect. But I can’t doggie paddle for very long without wanting to just let go.

A lifetime of fighting myself, of telling myself I’m worthy, all coming back to one fucking bastard asshole who stole all of me, who stole my life and my innocence and my trust and happiness. It all centers on that theft, that betrayal, and I wait for people to take advantage and run from me. People have done it all my life-assumed I would be strong enough, assumed I didn’t care, assumed I was ok with it, assumed I was a fucking fool. I having trouble fighting this, my head taken over it seems by it, this ticking time bomb in my head reminding me of a 20-30% mortality rate, reminding me that I’ve limited my contacts to so little that literally no one would miss me if I were gone, my children given the chance to grow without their terror of a mother screaming at their heads, my husband free to do what he will without my shrewish needs and wants hollering in the back.

It was better for so long. I felt alive, and human and that terrifying question, that fucking horrifying thought of “what if the drugs have stopped working?” keeps rolling through my head now and I remember how I said I’d die if these ever stopped working I can’t go back I can’t go back and now…I’m back. I’m right there.

I want so badly to be like everyone else. Steal whatever middling ability I have with words-just erase this fuck up in my brain. Fix me. FIX ME. I don’t want this. It doesn’t make me interesting or strong. It makes a a royal fuck up who can’t get her life straight, who doesn’t know what she wants and who can’t even find the will to write half the time anymore.

I want to cry, and I just can’t. It’s stuck. I want to cry like a baby and wail and gnash my teeth and I can’t. It’s disappeared, into an ether with my joy.

I can’t go back. I just can’t.

Just can’t anymore….

21 Jun

 

It is always there, like a song he can’t stop humming. It plays in the background when he graduates from law school. When he hears “not guilty” in court. When he cheers his son William to victory in the big hockey game or hugs his daughter Sarah for winning the Grade 3 spelling bee. He left Toronto because standing on the subway platform cranked the volume. He tried to shock it out of his brain. For a time, Star Trek episodes muffled it. Drugs, at best, only dull it.

In nearly every moment of his life, Peter O’Neill thinks about killing himself. Sometimes, he makes plans. He buys rope. He sets a date. Mostly though, he is trapped between wanting to die and trying to live, while the same scenes run on a loop in his mind: a noose dangling in shadow, or his body hanging from a rope.

Have a glimpse into our heads. I haven’t lived with this for awhile-thankfully, my drugs are helping. But I remember the rending void of that constant whisper “just do it. Die you piece of shit” and the ache rips through me all over again.

I would die before going back to that.

Kudos to the Globe and Mail for doing this series. A good read for those of you dealing with us crazies, and a good kick in the ass for me to really look into doing some advocacy work.

Bipolar and PMS-My personal Axis of Evil

11 May

The last few months have been unpleasant. 26 days of the month are normal, copacetic, happy, sometimes sorta down, tired days.

3-5 days of the month are not.

My natural state is one of fairly rapid cycling. I can, literally, go from giggling uncontrollably to crying in a minute. I’ve done this. I hate it. Mixed states are my favorite either-being agitated and manic, really not a great combination.

So lately, with my menstrual cycle being it’s usual insane clusterfuck, I haven’t been enjoying the accompanying swings. Vast swings. Yesterday I was peaceful getting a manicure, then panicked getting a pedicure, then wistful, the manic and happy dancing with the girls then sad and weepy, turning into full blown suicidal urges by 10pm. I kept hearing things and seeing things, flashes out the side of my eyes. I spent the day repeating “This isn’t real.”

My doctor claims it’s normal, and I believe she’s right. For years I’d have what we called “freakouts’, and they always coincided with that time of the month. I, in my paranoid state, always assumed it was Mogo’s way to not taking any blame. Now I know that isn’t the case.

It’s disorienting, because you think you’re ok. You feel ok, until you don’t, and suddenly the persecuted thoughts start, you start staring at yourself thinking you’re too fucking fat to live, you’re useless and it hurts to much and then suddenly you’re ok, like a tornado came and went and you’re laughing and you can’t believe you felt that way! except for the lingers delusion that something is going to go terribly terribly wrong.

The delusions I can handle. I have a grip on them, even though my doctor didn’t seem to care much when I mentioned them-maybe I didn’t make them clear to her. But these intermittent spurts of DIE DIE DIE I want to DIE! are a but much to handle, and they worry me. What if they linger long enough? What if the lithium stops working? What if the illness overcomes me and wins?

I shouldn’t fear as I do, but I can’t help it. Once you’re out of the storm, you cannot imagine going back in and surviving. Maybe if my manic periods were more satisfying, or longer, maybe then I’d not mind the thought. But they aren’t long enough to make anything feel good. They are short, and angry and brutal, and the depression always feels like it lasts for months anyway.

I want this to be easy. I want it to stay shut behind the lithium door and leave me be. But it won’t.

4 Pink Pills

24 Apr

 

Pretend for a minute that I’m holding 4 pills in my palm, 4 pale pink capsules containing the salt Li, 4 pale pink solutions to a problem that has plagued me for a long time.

I was scared to death of this drug, this innocuous looking pill, this wonder of our world, it’s inexplicable reason for ending the terror of bipolar in some people, in many people. I ran from it faster than I run from most.

It’s hard to look back at the me before this pretty pink friend. As Mogo and I talked, and he spoke of the relief of not worrying, day after day about me, and the freedom of not trying to hold down a swinging pendulum, I started thinking about my brain without this drug, this salty dog. The difference, I remarked, is like one day sitting in a screaming concert full of a million fans, all yelling at once while you try and do needlework, and the next day, being in a quiet, white room with only the sound of your breathing for company.

It’s that different. It’s that much Calgon take me away relief.

*************************************

When I was 17 or so, I returned to my original high school, a small catholic school in eastern Ontario. I had moved back in with my father as I understood something in a rare moment of clarity during a year of what I can only describe as highly manic behaviour. I knew that I had a choice-I could go down the road to nowhere, or I could try and claw back into a normal life. I chose my father, and normal.

I made friends with a boy, we’ll call him Marc. At first, everything was fine. We had fun, we joked around, he was fun and interesting to be around. He read a lot, and much of it was similar stuff. We had the same friends. We drove around, hung out, did drugs, had your normal teenage experience.

Marc and I developed a weird relationship-as far as I knew, and he told me, he was bisexual, but leaning at the time more towards guys. Typical teenage stuff right? Trying to place you identity. To an outsider, we seemed to have a “couple” vibe-people remarked that to me at the time, and each time I denied it. I had no real desire for the guy. Just a strong, almost loving friendship. We were close.

Marc was also bipolar.

I remember going with him to appointments at the mental hospital (and there was one where I went to school-I remember some guy escaping with an axe once-that wasn’t cool. I think it’s closed now) and him telling me about how useless his doctor was, and how he could get any drug he wanted but none of them helped. He even showed me the lithium, the lithium he hated from that first day he put it into his mouth.

Not understanding the disorder at the time, and likely wanting to distance myself from it since I had a vague understanding of what was and was not happening in my brain, I didn’t understand what was happening with Marc. He went one day from being happy and fun to the next day being sadistic and mean. He’d delight in saying horrible mean things to everyone around him, just to watch what happened. He’d shut you out, then let you back in again if you showed your devotion.

And we just lapped it up. It seems strange now, in hindsight, the pull this guy had. He was nothing to look at, but there was something about him I can’t even explain. Something compelling.

I found it strange, but was so locked in that what was happening didn’t even seem like a form of emotional abuse. It just seemed…normal. Not strange.

He’d rail at me about his pills, how they were making him crazy, how they weren’t happy and how he stopped taking them a few weeks after he started. He was enraged, and I tried to comfort him, tried to hold him, make him feel better.

That’s when he slapped me clear across the face.

I had never been hit like that in my life. I’ve been punched, but within context, or hit accidentally, but never, in a moment when I wasn’t defending myself, have I been hit like that.

I can still remember it. I can still remember just staring at him from the floor, and bracing myself for me. I can still feel the hated passivity that rose in my, the inability to fight against him. I felt helpless before him, and I couldn’t even figure out why.

If I didn’t move for a moment, if I didn’t speak, I figured it would blow over. I couldn’t stop the tears though.

He snapped out of it, and I watched the hate pour off his face as he bent to help me up, apologizing and apologizing. Never again he repeated Never again.

I told him to take his pills. He said it was the pills that made him like that.

What did I know?

Of course, things weren’t the same after that. I was scared of him, plain and simple. There was a glint in his eye I couldn’t place or understand. I was bigger than him, likely stronger than him, but I feared him. I feared him because I couldn’t anticipate him. I watched his rage burn through him for no reason at all, and lash out at me. I could never let my guard down.

Our phone calls went from being fun gentle calls to ones berating me. If I was having a bad day, zero support. I’d feel worse after speaking with him, yet compelled to call him. I felt suffocated, my chest constricted. I felt trapped, and scared and I couldn’t talk about it to anyone. No one would get it.

Yet finally, someone did. A new friend came into my life, observed what was happening, and told me flat out it was basically abuse, and it didn’t matter what was wrong with him, what pills he was taking for what or how they were affecting him. He was toxic.

With her behind me, I screwed up the courage to rid my life of him. I can still feel the anxiety in my gut when I called him from her house at the expected time and purged him from my life. The circles my stomach was making. The fear and the near relief, all at once.

And with that, he was gone.

*****************************************

I feared Lithium since then. I feared that I would become the monster he was becoming, the terror. I couldn’t separate the bipolar from the drug, I didn’t understand that his imbalance had nothing to do with Lithium itself. It was him, the manic swings, the rage he couldn’t control. I know that rage now, I’ve felt it’s embrace, and it’s coldly attractive. But ultimately destructive. If not for the Lithium, I would be him, the him that was, the creatures we call evil.

I live the aftermath that is unchecked bipolar. I never got to the point where I was a true threat to anyone other than myself. But I felt that capacity in myself, the roaring, empty void, the spastic need to lash. I began to understand Marc. Not forgive-I will never forgive him for the lesson in trust he gave me. But I understand now why I take my little pink pills every day without fail.

I see those reasons in the faces of the people I love, everyday. I struggle for those faces some days, knowing I swallow those drugs as much for them as for me. Maybe Marc never saw those reasons, maybe he didn’t truly have them. Maybe his parents left him alone in the basement far too often.

I’ll never know. My fear and anger still lives for him-I couldn’t bear to accept him on Facebook, and even the friend request sent pangs of pain through my chest. He likely doesn’t even know what he did, or remember.

If only I hadn’t feared so badly.

Petition for the Mother’s Act.

23 Apr

Dear Bloggers and PPD Awareness Advocates:
 
I’ve been asked to post the following link on my site. It is an online petition to support passage of The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act. A companion bill passed in the House of Representatives last fall to a nearly unanimous bipartisan vote! Democratic Senators Obama and Clinton both support this legislation along with Republican Senators including Olympia Snowe of Maine. Please help us gain our target goal of 100,000 signatures for this petition.

As a mother who has suffered PPD, and who has had depression and instability throughout a pregnancy, which turned into a life threatening situation for my and my child and who ended up being diagnosed Bipolar, this bill means a lot to me, even as a Canadian. I took no pills during my mostly alone recovery, and never wanted any. All I ever wanted was what this bill wants to give-funding to help educate medical providers and put the funds in place for resources to help. The thought of any friends of mine in the US suffering alone with PPD saddens me.
 
After just one week, we have generated 10,000 and the petition will remain active throughout May, during which time it will be marked up for review. This bill calls for research to help determine the etiology and best treatments for perinatal mood disorders which will affect 800,000 women next year… and this figure does NOT include women whose babies are stillborn, miscarriage or other vulnerabilities such as adoptive parents, single parents.. stakeholders for this legislation are anyone who has ever been a mother or a child!!

URGENT REQUEST


We Need Your Help Now!
We Must Speak Out in Full Support of
Postpartum Depression (PPD) Legislation NOW.

Click here to Connect and be Counted!
You may have heard the complaints on the internet lately; asking readers to block passage of legislation to help new mothers and their families cope with postpartum depression. The House and Senate both have legislation – H.R. 20 and S. 1375 – that some mistakenly believe is a conspiracy to push new mothers to take medication.

Tell that to the more than 800,000 women who will develop a diagnosable postpartum mood disorder this year! This does not include the 7.5% of women who will develop major depression during pregnancy.

How disappointing! Those who are speaking out against the Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act obviously know little to nothing about this legislation. Some are even saying that Melanie Blocker-Stokes, who took her own life after suffering this illness, was simply just sad.
This could not be farther from the truth! Ask her mother, Carol Blocker, who has dedicated her life to the passage of this protective legislation named in honor of her daughter.

This legislation does NOT recommend drugs, require drugs, or endorse drugs.

What it does is:
Encourage the Department of Health and Human Services to expand the research into the causes of postpartum conditions and find treatments.
Establish a national public awareness campaign to increase awareness and knowledge of PPD and psychosis.
Make grants available for programs that develop and offer essential services to women with PPD.
Even if you have already done so, please take the time to let your representatives in Washington know that you support this vital legislation. Help counter the misinformation they are currently receiving!

Click here to Connect and Be Counted!

One Person Can Make a Difference.

bipolar people + able to love?

11 Apr

Yes, we are.

Just because we seem like monsters, doesn’t mean we are.

“Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.”

4 Apr

We forget sometimes, that I am teh crazy.

One of the less than charming things about my brain is the delusional, paranoid thinking I’m privy to. The full list of bipolar symptoms consists of the following:

-MANIA-which involves feeling very happy or very irritable, inflated self-esteem, reduced need for sleep, yappy as all get out, racing thoughts (these are a FUCKING BALL when trying to get to sleep), crow shiny object syndrome (highly distractable), impulsive and/or reckless behaviour (sleeping around, smoking meth, drive like someone from the armpit, spend oodles of money (my personal impulsive behaviour, along with eating)

-DEPRESSION-involves feeling anxious or “sad” for a period of time (holy fucking reductive phrase batman), hopeless, pessimistic, slowed thoughts and actions, low energy, difficulty concentrating, remembering, hard to make decisions (shit, that’s me on a good day), decreased interest in usual activities, low sex drive, WANT TO DIE, generally hates life.

To add to this joy, I seem to have a side order of psychosis which flickers into my life from time to time. Which includes delusions, hallucinations and personality changes & thought disorder. I tend to keep most of this out of the ears of my doctor. It never gets beyond what I can control, and anti-psychotics make me stupid.

This is the brain that we’re dealing with.

If you think I act the martyr, that I believe myself to suffer more than Joe Public, or I believe that my pain is better/bigger/different/more fruity, you might be right. There are some days when grandiose thinking puffs up my life experience and causes me to pull out the “I’m so much more important and special than you card. I feel things more acutely. I suffer more.

But you know what? Unmedicated I have a hyperempathy so strong that I’m incapacitated by what I feel for everything around me. If you’ve been pregnant, you know what I mean. Now magnify that feeling my 100%, and have it all day every day. Deal with that constantly, and you WILL think your life is much worse sometimes.

What you don’t hear about are my calm and normal days, when I’m safely tucked between depression and mania, and I’m proud of myself for recovering from many things in my life, when I’m surprised and quietly smiling about the fact that I made it past 30, that I made it through some relatively awful things. Those days I don’t talk about much since I was not raised to toot my own horn.

I’m secretly proud of myself for not killing myself or my daughter. I’m secretly proud of myself for listening to many of you, and my husband, and admitting myself last summer, despite my cold, stark fucking terror at the concept. I’m secretly proud of myself for becoming a gentler, kinder person. I’m secretly proud of myself for accepting my very flawed body for what it is. I’m secretly proud of myself for accepting my flawed brain for what it is.

But there’s no glamour in admitting we like ourselves for who we are now is there? There’s no story there-just plain old ego.

I hate ego.

What needs to be retained is that I very rarely hold back here. There is certainly a segment of my life and mind I don’t leave proof of-and really, do you need to hear about my delusions that the world is ending, that fundamentalist boogey-men are going to enslave us all? Do you need to hear about the people who very occasionally flicker on the outside of my vision, or the sounds I’ll occasionally hear when no sounds are there?

You don’t. So we don’t talk about that.

I have this site for a reason, or at least, I have reasons now that I didn’t have before.

1. Because I needed a safe place to deal with my past, and relate to others with it.

2. Because I searched for a lot of common things about bipolar before, and I couldn’t find it. I like to think that I’m helping that a bit.

3. I wanted a place to write, and admittedly, get feedback.

I have this site for me, but not just for me. I have it to help give perspective to others, and so I can meet others and have them provide perspective. People like Kate and Bon and Kimberly, Jason, Venessa, and even Carin. Because I don’t know know what it’s like to lose a baby, to be visually impaired, to raise your children alone, or to wonder how to stretch a budget further than maybe it can go and stuff a freezer while going to school and raising 4 kids.

I yearn for perspective, even when I don’t agree with it, even when it bugs me, or I think it’s whiny or frivolous. Do I sometimes think evil thoughts about the lives of others? Hells yes. Do you? Hells yes. Everyone does it, even if it’s just for a fleeting moment.

I do not like to be judged. I do what I can to not judge others. Somedays, the creature in my brain talks shit for me. Sometimes I let it, because I’m feeling that way, or I’m conveying something from the past.

Somedays I’m just pissed off and angry and feeling entitled because I want to see the goddamned sailboat too. Because I’m tired of feeling broken and worn out. Because I’m tired of negotiating with my brain, tired of negotiating with a world that I have increasing trouble navigating. Because I’m absolutely terrified that this will get worse. I lash when I’m scared, and alone.

I’m always told to not judge, to think of others, to have caution for their feelings. Which is fine and noble and the right thing to do. But what caution for the crazy? What space, what room for them?

(And yes, I’m more than well aware that somewhere, right this very second, someone is even crazier than I am.)

“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be made strong, in fact. But the process is like all other human births, painful and long and dangerous.”

4 Apr

Cranky, pissed off, unhappy, lonely, vengeful, angry, sad-with a dash of hypomania thrown in.

Sometimes the pills work, sometimes, not so much. It bleeds through.

I’m constantly wondering-what is the pills? What is the bipolar? What is just the fact that it’s April and my mind focuses on one thing-my mother, the day she died, her last days-and I see the mother’s day shit in store windows and I think of her face, puffy from treatment, her grey boots, her withered hands, her naked body the day she died, the absorbent pad underneath her.

Am I angry because of this? Am I angry because I have devoted zero time and energy to the fact that this April is our tenth wedding anniversary and I feel spent and unable to care? Am I angry because I’m so lonely right now, because my anger locks me in, makes me a prisoner? Am I angry because I cannot share this, not really, because it needs a reason and goddamn it sometimes I just want to be angry, then sad, then weepy just because I have feelings and some days things just hurt.

I have no real reason to be unhappy, or pissed off or sad, other than a sinking feeling that I’m missing something, and I don’t have the time to figure out what that is.

All I know is that I fucking hate April. Renewal and growth my ass.

I hate this. I hate all of it. This fucking grief, an never-ending cycle of it, this dull throbbing ache that eats away at my every movement, judging me…”Don’t yell at the kids-you might die tomorrow”. The sucker-punch of a little whiny fool inside me, wanting to moan and bitch about her loss, and how hard it was. The knowledge that since I was a little girl I’ve had to suck it up and deal with it while the people around me are free to whine about their perfect little lives and vastly lessened pain.

Lose someone! I want to scream-feel your heart ripped from your chest and forever altered-feel yourself die! Anguish-feel it, really feel something for the first time in your little fucking lives feel something REAL.

It’s not as it was years ago, when as a mute child I screamed why into a sky that had no answers. It’s not as it was years ago when I awoke from a suicide attempt convinced that that day wasn’t a good day to die, and I had only myself to count on, since no one, NO ONE around me was listening. It’s not as it was when the never-ending chorus of “just do it-die die die” played in my head.

But it’s still angry as fuck, harsh and hard and bitter and on days like this it’s a pill I just can’t swallow. Why me. Why the FUCK is this life mine. All the beauty in this life becomes so hardened and pale to me most days, because it’s blinded by a wound I can’t seem to find a way to close.

I can be rational. I can use logic and tell myself that life isn’t fair, and this is how it is. But some-days, I don’t fucking well want to.

********************************

The sun is beaming in the sky today, flooding my work area with light, and that slight lift up feeling you get from the first few days of real sunlight, the knowledge that winter has retreated and sister spring is asserting herself.

I hate it. I remember the sun of that month, and it wasn’t healing. It was harsh and white and brittle and it hurt my heart to see.

I’ll never grow up will I? I’ll always be that little girl curled up on a couch in a family room, eating junior mints and pretending her mother wasn’t dying on a cold rainy spring day. I will always be that sad little girl.

Difference is, lately, she’s just angry.

43 minutes waited.

2 Apr

I stand, waiting. I don’t want to sit. I sit all day long, endless hours on an ass that just keeps on keeping on. It’s warm-that not quite spring, no longer winter warm where no clothing is appropriate and you constantly feel sick. I keep my coat on anyway.

At 40 minutes past my appointment, I decide to make a new one. I have far too much work to do without wasting hours of my life waiting for a government employee.

Of course, at that point she arrives.

No apologies, not ever. 40 minutes of my life, wasted, and she looks at me like my anger is frivolous, wasted.

No apologies.

Why is my anger never valid? Why is it always made wrong by someone else, usually a woman? Why is my time never respected, never guarded?

We talk about the usual-strained conversation as I feel less and less willing to open up to this woman. Hearing stock phrases used repeatedly clams me up further. She has no solutions. I’m tiring of this.

This is not help. I help myself. I hunt down my solutions, I pester the people I know and Dr. Google and do the rest with a shoestring, duct tape and a plastic rabbit. I make shit up. I drink my water and eat less crap. I convince myself the delusions are wrong. I convince myself that I’m ok.

She does nothing aside from nod and write and give me prescriptions. Nothing more, nothing less.

The associations of crazy are boring, tiring and ruinous.

“do bipolar people ever get better?”

25 Mar

I get a lot of search hits along these lines-people looking for answers. Possibly the newly diagnosed, scared and worried that they’ll be on drugs for the rest of their lives, and maybe in and out of hospital. Possibly a boyfriend, a wife, a cousin,  looking to see if their own private confusion and heartache might stop sometime soon, if there’s any point in hoping, waiting for things to get better.

In a way, there isn’t.

Unlike cancer, or heart disease, there is no end date to bipolar. There is no “remission”, no little breaks from the disease, and no discounts on your mortgage either. You either have it, or you don’t, period.

It will not end until death. You might compensate for it a little better, or you might find a drug, or drugs that work, or therapy might help you, but you will always have this brain sickness. You will always be privy to possibly emptying the bank account because the desire to buy something, anything overrode every other piece of common sense in your body. You might eat everything you can find because it just tastes so good and makes you feel better and you hardly even notice that you went up a dress size in a month. You might launch into a rage so foolhardly and blinding, you’ll tell the people you love to leave before you beat the ever loving crap out of them. You know you mean it.

You might spend days wishing, dreaming about your death, and not even know that this isn’t normal.

This is what you live with. This is why you will never be totally better. You cannot irradiate bipolar, at least, not that anyone has figured. You cannot pump nitroglycerin into it, or transplant your brain for a new, fitter model. You are stuck with it.

I say stuck, but I don’t always give my bipolar the credit it deserves. It gives me perspective. It’s given me a certain “fuck it” attitude which allows me to enjoy my children, and my life in different ways, ways that I know many other parents can’t. My bipolar continually reminds me that we cannot judge people by how they look or act, despite a strong desire to do so. Being bipolar not only makes me see the dark sides, it allows me to watch the sunset again ice covered tree limbs, and know that beauty lies there.

We won’t get “better”, not in the way we think of when we say we’re better from the flu. We will become steady. We will become stable, and sadly in some cases numb. But with the knowledge that one has to take their pills each day so they don’t become psychotic comes the realization that better, and normal, is something unreachable, and possibly even a goal not worth reaching for in the first place.

“can you ever be normal with bipolar?”

19 Mar

Do I look not normal? Do I sound not normal?

on second thought….don’t answer that.

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I consider myself high functioning. Any doctor I ever had always expressed surprise and shock at the fact that I’ve been able to hold my jobs unmedicated.

I suppose they’ve never really heard of the ability to compartmentalize things. The ability to soldier on despite pain, or suffering or debilitating unfocus. The ability to pretend.

Girls are good at this sort of thing.

I look normal. A bit weird, but I seem fine and well to most people most days. I laugh, I snort, I read books, I do my job. Most days I am normal.

You don’t seem crazy when you sit quietly and fight the delusion that the world is going to end and you should go stockpile food and water. You don’t seem crazy when you’re quietly telling yourself you don’t want to die. You don’t seem crazy when you’re quiet.

Aside from those days, I’m just like everyone else. I live my life. I take my pills. I sleep little.

Normal is a relative thing after all.

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I suppose one could say that I will never be “normal”-if the context of normal means never having to take pills to not hit things and never needing to watch my sleep patterns in order to make sure that I don’t get stupidly hypo manic. If normal means never having delusions or hearing strange voices or noises, then no, I’ll never be normal.

Are you normal with cancer? Heart Disease? Diabetes? No?

I will always be sick. It’s the one constant in my life. I will always have a chronic disease that can interfere with my normal life-with my job, with my marriage, with my parenting. I will always be “not-normal” because of this. I will be different. I will react to screaming children or smart alec husbands in different ways than others. But so do many people who aren’t sick.

My normal is your weird. My normal is fighting internal voices, my normal is countering the cackling bitter manic woman with calm placid thought. And I’m fine with that.

You’ll never be who you thought you’d be. But no one is. In my case, I believe I’m someone much better than I would have been if I was “normal”. I’m me.

Stop Toying with Mothers-SUPPORT the Mother’s Act

29 Feb

Now, I’m not even American, and this is making me hot. As in PISSED OFF.

Some of you might remember the Mother’s Act-back in October there was a blog about day for support. Many of us who have suffered under PPD or PPP supported it.

One day I visit a favorite site of mine. (Well it WAS a favorite. This got it removed from my feeds I was so bloody pissed off) There’s a rambling article about how the Mother’s Act is nothing more than a way to push drugs.

I blinked. I went back to read the bill again. The only reference I could find was under “Findings:

Postpartum depression is a treatable disorder if promptly diagnosed by a trained provider and attended to with a personalized regimen of care including social support, therapy, medication, and when necessary hospitalization.

That’s it. That’s the terrifying “big brother”-oh noes! Someone wants to help women!

Seeing someone equate talking to women about PPD before hand to convincing her she had it really REALLY pissed me off. Reading these stories of women on these crazy mixes of drugs for what seem to be other psychiatric conditions that were incorrectly treated-that’s the fucking POINT of this bill. To HELP.

What in the FUCK is wrong with mothers (and fathers) today. EVERYTHING has some sort of agenda-things aren’t “natural” enough for them. You know what’s natural? Mother’s killing their children because they can’t parent them effectively. Natural is leaving a baby out to die of exposure. Natural is mother’s beating their children from frustration, or working them all hours of the day.

NATURAL IS NOT BETTER. Belladonna is natural. Want some?

I am irate with these people. Talk to me about militant stances on breastfeeding, baby wearing, co sleeping-I will absolutely support you. Start screwing with the first REAL movement towards doing something about postpartum depression, and my claws come out. The absolute IGNORANCE of these people astounds me. The selective tunnel vision amuses me. The odds that any of them have ACTUALLY read the bill…well, that just makes me giggle.

But it makes me want to cry as well.

Even the fucking Wikipedia page has been contaminated by this stupidity.

The most important thing I can remind you of are the women who killed their children because of PPD/PPP. The women who didn’t make it. The lives destroyed, lost forever, the women abandoned. The women we currently can’t help, regardless of what’s wrong. The children who were innocent in all of this.

Andrea Yates

Mine Ener

Dr. Debora Green

Dena Schlosser

Dr. Suzanne Killinger Johnson (This was at my usual subway stop. My mind went wild wondering “Was it here? Here?”)

Leatrice Brewer

Gilberta Estrada

and many more. There are so many of us. So many chances to get it right, to help, to prevent such horror that we close our eyes and refuse to read. To hear people, to see people trying to fight against something meant to do good sickens me. Is only they’d spend the same energy fighting the men and women who torture their children, fighting the system that leaves the poor hungry and without mental or physical health care.

If only they cared enough to truly make a difference, instead of making sound bites.

If only.

“do people that are bipolar hang out together?”

26 Feb

Is this a trick question, along the lines of “do black people only hang out with black people”?

I don’t have a manic depressive quota to meet. In fact, in real life, I know one bipolar person. We hung out in high school, and I never knew that she was a nutter. She was fucked up, but I figured being a very out lesbian in a small town living with your ex-stepfather who snorts coke was enough to fuck anyone up. I miss her like a sister, but we never hung out because we recognized something in each other. We hung out because she had great taste in music and she loved my derby blue docs.

Finding out, all these years later, that we’re both manic depressive was kinda cool actually.

In my everyday life, I don’t know anyone. I know people online, but if the people I ran into in the psych ward are any indication, I don’t know if I want to hang out with anyone else that’s nutty for very long. I can’t imagine it’s a healthy way to live. My own bad ideas are toxic enough-having someone else along for the ride-that would end badly.

I like talking to others online who have this disease. It makes me feel less alone, allows me to find the answers I need sometimes. But on those days when we all need to pull away, I’d hate to imagine being stuck together as friends-over sensitive, possibly vengeful friends.

And really. It’s not a club. We don’t hang out together and trade tips on what to do when the lithium shits hit or what could possibly help bring you down from a nice session of hypo-mania. At least for me, this shit doesn’t happen.

And you know how groups of women tend to synchronize their periods? Imagine if that happened with a bunch of depressed bipolars. Man, we’d drop off like flies.

The entire idea just bothers me for some reason. And don’t bring up the goth thing-most goths I’ve known were disgustingly well adjusted, wallowing in “sorrow” like I’d go slumming in Regent Park. Listening to bad music doesn’t make you crazy. Just stupid. We aren’t squirrels or lemmings. We’re people. Just because I have bipolar doesn’t mean I want to hang out with other crazies. Just because I have a vagina doesn’t mean I like women.

We’re just people, just like you.

“does bipolar go away?”

23 Feb

No. No, it doesn’t.

I don’t think that there ever was a time I didn’t have this disease in my brain. I think it was minimized, something I could control to some degree, something I could compensate for. But my extreme sensitivity as a child? My varying moods, my shyness-all things that could be normal in a child, but which seem, in hindsight, to be indicators, potentials.

Being molested by a neighbour, watching my mother slowly die over a number of years, only letting go when told there was no point anymore, trying to hold on to the splinters we called family-I can’t help but think these things, and puberty, forced the hand and took me from merely strange, to a little crazy.

I had a nasty habit of hitting things when angry. Things like thick wooden fences and concrete walls. I’d turn on friends in an instant, for no reason even I could discern. I’d shut myself off, blocking the world out for days.

I found lovely delicious drugs which liked me back.

I think most of my adolescence was spent in denial. Denying anything was wrong to any of the shrinks who saw me-pushing away anyone who might have wanted to help me.

What’s surprising is that Mogo was willing to be with the mess I was, and staying through all the late night accusations and needy MEMEME that involves so much of bipolar for me. Nothing was ever enough. I needed to be shown, I needed his love to be proved. As if staying with someone who’d sit in a bathtub running cold water when she was freaked out wasn’t proof enough.

Babies came. PPD came. My mind left.

There’s an awful sense of doom when you’re diagnosed and you realize that this is it. After years of not knowing what it was, years of Mogo saying “I think you might be manic-depressive” and me snapping “Fuck off-I’m not crazy”, years of pretending everything was ok and maintaining a life that was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain, you suddenly think it will be ok. You have a reason.

But then you realize that that reason is a life sentence. You will never escape your disease. It IS you. It’s part of you, it’s formed you and in some ways, you’re at it’s mercy. You’ll take drugs for the rest of your life, and you’ll hope like hell they don’t stop working. You’re thankful that there are drugs that make you mostly normal.

Bipolar doesn’t go away. There’s no magic switch to turn on and off. There’s no secret formula to fix your brain. It just is. Cancer you can cure. You can get a new heart. Your brain? All you can do is drink a magic potion, and hope it works.

Do I wish there was a magic switch? Hells yes. I worry daily that the drugs won’t work-now that I’m on Lithium, and it works, and I can see the chaos I spawned and what the ultimate ending I was headed for I worry. Because my BPD, untreated, is a death sentence. If I was still untreated, it’s more than likely I would be dead by now. I could feel it building. It’s why the periodic feelings of “hey, swallow those pills/cut yourself” scare me so completely. Because they are still there, and I fear them. I fear that voice, and I fear, more than many things, returning to that state of living.

You don’t realize how bad those voices, those thoughts are, until they’re not there. Every day, for years, I thought of dying. Of taking my own life. Those thoughts became friends-bad friends, but friends nonetheless. They were always there.

Now, living without them is such clear bliss that I would have trouble going back to living with them in my head everyday.

I wish it would go away. I wish I didn’t have to take 4 pink pills every night. I wish I didn’t have to worry about my children, how I’m affecting them, if they’ve inherited it. I wish I didn’t have to worry about my husband, who has spent far too many days wondering where his wife went, and if she was going to survive. I wish I could say I’ll never be hospitalized ever again.

I wish, I wish….but at the end of the day, it’s not going away. So we pick ourselves up, and soldier on, hoping we stay strong, yet preparing daily for the worst.

The difference between brave and crazy

19 Feb

Brave in our world is taking Lexapro for slight depression.

Crazy is wanting to kill yourself without being depressed.

Sitting here, struggling to work, my head pounding through my head as I pop more and more acetaminophen, I hold the bottle in my hand and wonder if it’s enough.

In the store, I stared at the Entropen and remembered the feeling of that bottle, those pills dry down the back of my throat over 15 years ago.  The packaging has changed, but the jolt of recognition is the same.

I’m not unhappy. I’m not depressed. I don’t want to die. So why are these thoughts dancing in my head, veering in and out? I’m tired, and the breathing thing is starting again, but otherwise, I’m fine. If anything, I’m a bit numb.

The thought that the Lithium has stopped working, that this could possibly happen scares me and makes me just want to lay down and cry.

My will is stronger than my whirling thoughts, so I’m not worried that I’ll do something. What I don’t get is where it’s coming from.

That’s crazy.

“I CANT HANDLE LIFE ANYMORE”

15 Feb

You searched for this and it makes me want to cry in that little girl, please move the mountain it’s just too big kind of way.

I have been there. I have stared into the mouth of that dragon, pills on the left of me, knives on my right. I have faced that beast and stared him down, but became weaker each and every time. I have felt the utter emptiness of life, the echoing horrifying void of a world you don’t fit into, and don’t particularly like. The sweet whispers of that little voice that say “go ahead. No one will miss you.”

Life is hard. Life is full of pain. Heartache. Terror. Off the top of my head I can think of 5 things that terrify me in life that have nearly caused me to off myself in the past. My self loathing would be the biggest. I hated myself for a very long time. I can’t forgive myself for the events in my past, even those I had no control over. I couldn’t handle what I had become. Only a tenuous loyalty to those who loved me kept me here. I couldn’t bear the thought of hurting them. My only true suicide attempt was a failure-the old joke right? I suck even at killing myself?

The truth is, I always wanted a reason to live-but I also wanted the pain to stop. The pain of living overrode every other sensation in my life. I could stare at the most fantastic images the world could throw at me and still be apathetic and uncaring. The efforts of others to cheer me were futile.

Life is something you need to handle-in all seriousness, would you want a life with no barriers, no pain, nothing to offset the normal? The sweetness of my daughters is all the more apparent on the days when they are not so sweet, and I want to coat them in butter and leave them in the backyard for the raccoons. Life is not fair-because there is no one around stacking the deck-it’s just you bub, and it’s what you make of it.

I don’t believe in gods, so I won’t be telling you that a higher power wants you here, is testing you, is punishing you, etc, etc. What I do believe in is YOU. And me. Think of all the books, all the words and thoughts you haven’t read. The songs you haven’t sung. The paintings your eyes haven’t bathed in. Think of the people who might change your life you haven’t met. The places you haven’t seen. The food you haven’t tasted.

You create the world around you-you create the life you live. If you’re sick-get help. I did. The world is a vastly different place today than it was Feb 15 2007. I have hope-hope! for the first time in my life. I am happy, and at peace with my life. I’m going to start painting again-I’m reading, I’m writing and having wonderful conversations with people I love my family and I wake up most mornings excited to see what will happen.

I feel excited for the first time in years.

I want this for you-all of you who feel that the pain is too much and that the front of that bus that just went by looks awfully attractive. I want you to stop at the end of your driveway and marvel at the sunsets, every night. I want you to run your fingers through the hair of your children, your nieces, your pets. I want you to find your path through this world minus the hurt and the tears and the helplessness. I want you to find the beauty you hold inside of you.

I want you to be free of that dragon on your back.

There is no secret code aside from your will and your patience. And time. I’m still not perfect. I still have the odd grey day, the skittish thought that slams through my head yelling “justkillyourselfalready!!!!” and disappears. Life without these thoughts is odd-they’ve been my companion for so long…it’s like living in a house that’s full of smoke, and one day that smoke is gone and you realize the walls were cream, not white.

You can do it. You will see the walls too.

“do bipolar people have feelings”

5 Feb

Jebbus…..what the hell do you think?

I know my reaction is knee jerk “do you think us monsters?”, and that isn’t the point.

I know that many people, including my long suffering husband, have been hurt by this disease, this ragged excuse for a mentality. When we rage-we rage hard. Mogo has been on the receiving end of many s screaming fit-angers so vivid that it’s a good thing the “Will and Word” doesn’t exist. My body would shudder, and quake, and it took all of my control to not strike out at him. Our walls still hold the reminders of this violence.

We have feelings. The problem is, we have too many. While you feel an aching sadness at the news that someone stomped their baby to death, I feel an all consuming anger and sadness. It infiltrates my brain, and my heart, until that child might as well have been my child, and I can feel their tiny heart beat out it’s last pulse. When you feel a quiet happiness for someone who just had their child, I become obsessive, needing to do everything, be there, give oddles of advice, and feel maybe like a mother might.

While bipolar, there are no half measures. Happy is happy, sad is sad. There are feelings-immense feelings that overwhelm.

But to you, the outsider, it may seem like there are no feelings inside us as we blithely ignore your wants, your needs. Ours are paramount. We may recognize that you have feelings and needs, but they will never trump ours. We are important. You live around us.

Isn’t that horrible?

It’s difficult to have an interdependant relationship with someone who is bipolar, because that inter part? We have trouble with that. On a manic day, our ego will exceed you. On a down day, our misery will be all that matters. You….well, you won’t.

Now that I’m medicated, I can see what I was doing, how I was hurting people around me. I see people finally coming back out of the woodwork to talk to me, after years of avoiding me, aware of my sudden shifts and callous nature. Suddenly, I see all my wrongs, and I’m pentient, and unaware of how to fix it.

Feelings are there. We aren’t psychopaths. We just don’t know how to direct it to you, or how to say the words we mean. We just don’t live on the same plane sometimes.

Where I hate on Lithium, but groove on my girls.

26 Jan

Im not enjoying 1200 mg a day. I am nauseated, I have a pounding headache and I’m thirsty no matter how much I drink. And I’ve been this way for the last three days.

Ick.

I just feel BAD. Physically exhausted despite sleeping in (with the radio on for white noise-lord knows what crap I listened to unconsciously) and just plain blech. The headache is the part that’s killing me.

If this lasts, I’ll have some issues with it. But it works. My brain is normal, when it’s not foggy like it’s been lately, useless at work and everywhere else.

It works. So I suck this shit up, and deal.

Taking both girls on their own excursions today didn’t help. I’m bloody exhausted.

Moving on….

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Ros was going to get a much needed haircut, but she refused to sit still. I’m sure having the toy section right outside of the cheap hair place in Wal-Mart didn’t have a thing to do with it. Vivian needs the haircut more anyway-she has the dreaded lady mullet.
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She’s got the dreaded mother as well…
The great thing about tiring them out is that at bedtime there are no battles. Just sweet, blissful silence. Can you hear it? It’s absolutely lovely. I have an open beer downstairs, and I’m nearly finished Francis’ blanket. Things are good, ignoring the ick.
Oh, and some silly cooze actually HIT ME WITH HER CAR as I walked ON A GREEN light with Vivian and a friend. HIT ME. I had to scream blue murder before she noticed, since apparently, HITTING SOMETHING is no indication. Then she tried to act like it was the sun-which I would have believed had she not been wearing sunglasses.
Seriously. And y’all wonder why I refuse to ever learn to drive, and think cars are the tools of evil. It’s because everyone seems to forget they could KILL ME when they’re paying more attention to what’s in a store window.
I mean really….

Reclaiming the Crazy

23 Jan

Went to see El Shrinko today, after three months of rescheduling due to deaths, meetings, general busyness and assholish receptionists. My doctor has THE most passive aggressive receptionist I’ve ever seen. My last few appointments I’ve had to turn down because of work commitments and snow storms, in that order. Last week she called, saying my Dr really wanted to see me, could I come in tomorrow. She had left me a message, so I didn’t call her back since I knew I had to check my calendar at work.

She calls me 2 hours later at home.

Of course I find out the next day that there is no way in hell I can change my day around, so I leave a message cancelling, saying it’s no problem to wait until today. I figured my levels were either low or high, but not really bad, or they’d be insisting.

Well today, the wench calls me in the morning to remind me, which is fine. Then she adds “Oh, so you’re actually coming this time?”

If I could have reached through the phone to throttle her, I would have.

Then I make it to the appointment, only to have my doctor be 30 mins late anyway. I know these things happen, but after dealing with Miss. Bitch, I was annoyed. So I let my doctor know just how irritating this woman is, mentioning that if I was, oh, I don’t know, really depressed, being treated the way this woman treats people would NOT HELP AT ALL.

The doctor didn’t seem surprised, which kinda weirded me out truthfully.

But really-you work at a mental health center. One would think that you would be a little more empathetic and kind. And that you’d realize that not all crazy people are on welfare with nothing to do. Hell, I’d imagine even people on disability or welfare have things to do other than jump when their doctor has an open appointment.

But I digress.

******************************

I’m a little hypo-manic lately, have been for about 2 weeks now. Nothing major, but enough that when she told me my levels were off, I wasn’t surprised. My appetite is up again, I was down at Christmas, I’m talkative as all get out-I know something was up. But I enjoy my sessions more when I am a bit manic because then we get past the “Woe is me-the sky is falling” scenario, and just talk.

I started blathering on about something, maybe about how crazy can’t talk to crazy about things (referring to how 2 crazy people don’t make sanity) and she immediately got excited.

“You’re not crazy!!!”

I stopped and stared at her. “Erm, yeah I kinda am. I mean, I’m not bag lady hiding dead squirrels under the buggy crazy, but I am mentally ill.”

“But you aren’t crazy!” she seemed offended, really bothered that I’d refer to myself this way. ” And you sound like you like saying you’re crazy!”

I tried to explain to her my philosophy of reclaiming the crazy. I’ve had other mentally ill individuals take umbrage with my matter of fact usage of the word crazy, and frankly, I don’t care.

It’s important to me to stand up and say “This is what crazy looks like. This is what mentally ill really is. Not necessarily dirty and homeless. Sometimes, just like you, just like your mother, or your teachers or your nurses. We ARE you.”

I’m tired of crazy being relegated to this Victorian idea of asylums and electroshock therapy. I’m tired of people being ashamed of having a disease over which they hold no control in it’s happening. You can, to some degree, outwit cancer, heart disease. Live well, exercise, yadda yadda yadda. Mental illness? You can’t eat your way away from crazy. It is something you have, period. And yet we act like somehow it’s a person’s fault, that they could have done something, that they are lesser beings because of a defect in their brain. Why the value judgement? Why blame the victim? Who is that serving?

I use the word “Crazy” because you recognize that. In your mind, when I say crazy, you form a specific mental image of what and who crazy it. I want to be your cognitive dissonance. I want you to have a new picture, a new understanding. I want to alter the ways in which you, and the people around me, handle a crazy in your midst.

It’s quite simple actually. Treat us like we’re real. Treat us like we matter. Treat us like you would have if you had no idea that we were crazy.

My doctor looked surprised over my little manifesto, and asked who I tell about my bipolar.

“Everyone.” I said. “I tell everyone, so maybe they’ll start to get it.”

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There is no easy way to changing the public perception of mental illness. I mean, there are still millions of men who think women were put on this earth to serve them-we’re not going to change anything overnight. But with perceptions going from “Village Idiot” to ‘Autistic’, people are beginning to see that for those of us afflicted, we aren’t just putting it on for fun. (And really, who would do this for fun? I have this and I don’t want it. I’d give it away in a heartbeat) Many of you aren’t able to be as open as I am, for various reasons ranging from “I just don’t want to” to “I’d be fired”. I hate that you can’t, and I feel driven in someways to put it out there for you.

If I can help one person understand, if I can comfort one person who’s going where I’ve been, then it’s worth my time and effort. If I change someones mindset, and they go on to support a spouse, a sibling, a parent, then I’ve done at least a little good in the world.

And I will have reclaimed Crazy, and made it something to be proud of.

Questions about Bipolar can drive you batty.

18 Jan

Sara asks how I deal with the innumerable pain in the ass questions that surround bipolar.

If you aren’t crazy, let me introduce you to the life of a bipolar.

We never just wake up on the wrong side of the bed. If we’re cranky, there must be a reason. The drugs must not be working. We must have forgotten them, or stopped taking them. We must have been drinking the night before.

We’re never happy. If we’re bouncing around the house, singing, we’re asked if we remembered to take our drugs. If we’re whistling at work, we’re asking what the hell we’re so happy about, asked if we stopped taking our meds. We’re asked to stop being so bloody annoying, and gee, are you sure the drugs are working?

It’s hard enough handling the mood swings. Having the added benefit of doubt surrounding you really puts the icing on a shitty cake.

What some people don’t seem to realize is that even on drugs, one will still experience the full “bipolar express” that they did before. Only it will be something you can deal with. Sadness will be just that-sadness, and it won’t descend into suicidal thoughts. I will still get a little manic, just not to the point of draining my bank account or talking all day long.

I am still entitled to my emotions. I am still entitled to a full range of life as a human being. Just like all of you.

Truth be told Sara, I don’t handle it well at all. I get pissy, and annoyed. BUT, on the other hand, I have gone off my meds before, and it’s pretty much the thing that precipitated my hospitalization. So I’m not exactly trustworthy all the time anyway. But I get nervous when my husband gives me the eye and wonders if I need my dose upped. I start to wonder if there is something wrong with me, with the me that’s inherent in this body, and I start wondering if he’s trying to cover it by encouraging me to ask about having the levels adjusted. Then I get sad, because honestly, I don’t know who “I” am at this point.

That’s what bothers me the most. The feeling that everyone else knows who I am more than me. I’m a different person in my head constantly, a nattering mess in my brain. But they have the benefit of the relative silence of my external self, and I don’t.

Most of the time though, I don’t get many questions. You may have noticed that I’m a tad bit vocal about my illness, and this does transfer into my real life. I will tell even if you haven’t asked. I am not ashamed of my illness, and I am very open with the people around me, even if it makes them uncomfortable. They wouldn’t act weird if I had cancer, and I wouldn’t hide that either.

I found the best defense is offence. I’ll let Mogo know, repeatedly, that I will never be 100% normal. EVER. (Not that I ever was) I will still get moody, especially around my period. (HOOOO dog does that SUCK now that I can tell the difference!) If I’m manic, I’ll try and warn him-it’s usually been helped along by too little sleep, too little exercise and too much coffee.

There’s a healthy dose of “in one ear and out the other” as well. I can’t get mad at his concern, not truly. This is a man that stuck by someone who has been continuously suicidal, full of rage and meanness for the last 3 years, someone who was depressive and mood swingy even before descending into the maelstrom. He has weathered this with me, and is entitled to his concerns. Because sometimes it’s scary, wondering if it’s just a glitch, or if the meds have stopped working.

That thought gives me nightmares. The thought of going back to how it was, to the volatile madness that was my life and myself. We wouldn’t make it through that again, and I think we both know it. His vigilance is security, really.

Keeping it in the context of “they love me, they care, and they want to help” is likely the only way to preserve your sanity. Because they do. The people who surround us truly love us, or they would never, in a million years, have stuck with us for so long.