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“how do i explain bipolar disorder to someone?”

24 Feb

Sometimes I start talking to stranger, acquaintances, friends about this wonderful defect, this twitching glitch in my brain. I’ll candidly mention “the second time I tried to kill myself” or “when I was on the psych ward” or even, “last time I was at the mall, I kept hearing things calling my name. heh.” I’ll keep talking, glad to be open and rational about my disorder, until I glance up and notice the looks of horror or fear on the faces before me. The sheer inability to understand.

Explaining bipolar to a “normal” is difficult. I have noticed that first off the “oh, I get depressed sometimes too” line will come out, about 70% of the time.

This line irritates me so much I want to spoon out their eyeballs and make soup. I know it’s an attempt to relate and empathize. But it comes of as condescending and like they wish to minimize what I’ve been through.

Some people have relatives with bipolar though, or DID, or other disorders, and they will quietly admit to this, as if they’re the family demons and by speaking of them they get stronger. Like it’s something to be ashamed of.

It’s rare that anyone actually wants to hear the truth, the story behind it. What happens, and why.

I’ve had the chance, the odd time, to really explain what happens. And I’m as pointed and clear and realistic as I can be.

I explain the huge variations in mood, like summer to winter, with no chance for spring. My head can wrap itself around and convince itself that those I love hate me, or that I hate them, or that they’re spying on me, or plotting against me.

I can become paranoid, even when medicated. Patterns which would otherwise be meaningless can make me question what I’m seeing. I worry that attention not paid to me is not friendship, but betrayal.

Sometimes, all I want, more than anything, is to die. Or rather, to just not exist. It’s not a matter of wanting to die-it’s when the pain is so bad, so all consuming that it colors every.single.thing. in your world, being numb, being sterile and white and blinding sounds like SUCH a good idea, even if you need to get there to die. It’s a drive, a mission to find a dry place, a soundproof place where the voices in your head have nothing to say, and you don’t ache with the pain you imagine a star could be borne of.

The death part is the hardest to understand. A rational, normal person thinks of suicide as anathema, as well they should. But I’ve always found the suicidal urges to be the simplest. Wake up, have pancakes, pick out a shirt, maybe today I’ll do it, maybe not, ham would be nice for dinner. Just the endless loop of “just maybe”. No one likes to know about this part. (Incidentally, this has been the bit that’s most isolating, and I just really don’t have anyone to talk to about it, which is how I usually work through stuff. It’s pretty much a conversation killer)

I might talk about my mania. Thankfully mine isn’t so bad, especially medicated, but I still become infuriated when normal people talk about “how manic!” they are after a cup of coffee. (The word is hyper. Not manic) I’ve explained my black rages to people, those where I can barely rein in my anger, looking through bloody, lidded eyes. I’ve explained the agitation, akin to having creatures crawling underneath and through my skin, inability to sit still, be quiet, keep money in my pocket.

People think mania sounds “neat”.

I don’t know if you can explain away that theory. To them, mania is being happy and fun. Even for me, who rarely gets very manic, especially on the meds, it’s not fun. It’s scary. A few months back, I had a week where I was insanely manic, for me, considering I’ m medicated. I could have sworn I was floating for a few days, I was so euphoric. I couldn’t focus, I could barely see straight. I vibrated.

Not neat. But to the outsider, there aren’t enough adjectives to convey the sense of slow plodding insanity mania can give you.

I always take pain to point out that I’m otherwise normal. That with the exception of my bad moments, on medication, I’m mostly like others. Sure, I still need to work harder at some things. I’ll never be as organized as a lot of people, I’ll never be able to focus as clearly as I did before I got sick. But I still get the flu. I laugh at fart jokes. I have baggage. I’m still human.

And really, that’s what this always boils down to. Conveying to people our humanity-that mental illness hasn’t stripped that away. Sure, I’m sick. But that doesn’t make me less of a wife, or mother, or friend. If anything, I’m more human, as the experience, the internal experiences I’ve been through make me fuller than any trip or purchase could make me. I have a wealth of knowledge and living behind me, something that’s made me, even sick me, so much more of a person than I would have been.

Explain our humanity. It’s all up hill from there.

bipolar people + able to love?

11 Apr

Yes, we are.

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

“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.


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.


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.

“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.

“can pregnant woman eat pizza hut wings”

17 Feb

HELLS yes. I lived on Pizza Hut my second pregnancy (as my ass and 50 lb weight gain can attest)

You can eat what you want, with the exception of the usual suspects-beer a 40 of vodka, crack cocaine, sushi  fish from Lake Erie, six pack of Jolt.

More than likely, everyone and their Mother has been telling you “You can’t eat that!!!” in the same tones that one would warn small children from open flame. Ignore them. Frankly, anyone who dares tell a pregnant woman what they can or cannot eat deserves to be kicked, repeatedly in the vicinity of where a baby might come out. Welcome to motherhood-a land where everyone else knows better than you.

Don’t overdo the eating of crap (trust me-50lbs….but I quit smoking, so I figure it works out) but don’t listen to people with their stupid unfounded prejudices about food either. OR, levy some advice of your own-something like “Hey, that purse makes your ass look big” or “that chest hair makes you look like a wookie.”

And then, go have a big honkin’ pile of wings. And hot sauce.


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.

“is my wife bipolar or a bitch”

14 Feb


I can’t only imagine how many times Mogo asked this to anyone who was listening. 🙂

“what do you like about your childhood?”

6 Feb

When I was very little, 4, maybe 5, my bedroom faced the river. I couldn’t see it from my window-all I could see were the rundown backs of the downtown strip, all dirty wood and spotlights, gravel driveways and the detrius of the drunks of the night before. But the sun would rise in my window, without fail every morning.

I was terrified.

When the sun rose each morning that summer, it filled my room with shades of gold, amber, oxblood. My heart would seize as I stared into the glare through the cheap pane glass, replaced only that summer because of my stupidity. Screaming, I’d summon my mother, who would stare blankly, kinda annoyed, from the window to me, sitting up in my bed, bawling.

“Mom! the world-it’s on fire!”


In many respects, I had an idyllic childhood. I spent hours in the backyard, creating kingdoms and fairy tales and stories of women kicking ass. My mother stayed home when I was younger, bringing money to the household as a tailor. The sound of her sewing machine routinely filled the house, hemming pants and darting skirts.

She was always there. Even when she went back to working outside the home, she was only behind the house. I could have stayed home, but I preferred to sit in the flowershop with her, watching entranced as she colored carnations green for St Paddy’s Day, arranged flowers for funerals, soaked the Oasis in water, let me touch the Venus Fly Traps.

My memories of my father are tied up in the little things as well-walking to the store so he could check the door. Riding on his shoulders , on a warm easter morning-one of those mornings that remind you it was worth waiting through winter for Spring, me in my tiny white sandals, him complaining that his back hurt.

I never rode on his shoulders again.

What I love about my childhood is that no matter what else was going on, my sense of home is a sense of safety. In my memories, our home was always full of light, but it’s not light.

It was love.

We weren’t, and still aren’t a touchy feeling talky family. (With the exception of me apparently) Sure there were bear hugs and beard rubs at night before bed, but I don’t have any vivid memories of the words ‘I love you” being spoken. And yet, my childhood memories spill over with love, and security and hope. All the best things you want for your children.

My memories of my parents as a couple are especially bittersweet. Knowing they were happy-happier than the parents of many of my friends, and yet losing each other. It makes the memories hard sometimes, and then, I am grateful they are few and far between.

I love remembering a time when I was just happy. Not confused, not upset, happy. Safe and secure, and totally unaware of what was to come. That my parents could do this for me is a wonderful gift, and the memories are held in reserve for the days that aren’t so good. So I have a safe place to land.


“It’s not on fire.” she said, “It’s just the sun, rising to say good morning.”

“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.

“how to die quickly”

22 Jan

I don’t honestly know what to do with this one.

I get searches for this phrase a few times a week, and generally, I ignore it, pretend it isn’t there. It bothers me. The image of some poor soul browsing the internet, looking for the fastest way to off themselves….it gets to me, eats at me, makes me feel like Ophelia staring into the waters, searching for an answer that just won’t come.

I don’t have the answer. I don’t know how to die quickly. If I did, I imagine I wouldn’t be here writing this. I would have taken that road long ago.

What is it that’s so bad? Your home, your family? Is your life not what you thought it would be? Do you want children? Do you want to be rid of children? Are you in love? Do you wish you could be in love?

Are you lonely? Are you hurting?

I’ve been there. I’ve been in all those horrible fucking places where it hurts to breathe and you just want to go to sleep and not wake up. You want to die, and not have any responsibility for it. You want to let go, release your fingers from the tethers of here and now and float into neverneverland, be a boy forever.

It hurts to even think about being happy where you are. It aches-you pound with a fierce ache that you can’t define or isolate, but it eats you alive. You stare wildly at everything and nothing. The world has narrowed to you, and the pain you feel.

I felt this the day I went into the hospital, the day I finally saw through the hurt and pain and blood filled vision and realized I didn’t want to die. I just didn’t want to hurt so fucking much anymore. I wanted to feel alive, instead of hollow.

There is no quick way to die, or to live. But there are choices.

“my mother died friends are uncomfortable”

13 Nov

Oh honey, I’m so sorry.

One of the worst parts about losing a parent is trying to handle your friends. To this day I can still remember the helpless looks on the faces of the people I knew when I told them my mother was dead. Surely the matter of fact way I said it didn’t help, but I was in shock. They looked at each other, then back at me. “You’re kidding” they said.

“nope.” I said. “She died a few hours ago.”

If you want to get rid of your friends quickly, that’s a good way to do it.

I was in shock at first, and likely unable to register what I was doing to my friends, the few I had. Most avoided the topic, preferring to stay as far away from it as possible. One held me up as I ran from church, bawling during my mother’s service.

They are uncomfortable because they are scared it could happen to their mother. They’re uncomfortable because they do not want to hurt you, and do not realize that silence will hurt even more. Open up to them. Talk about her-talk about her illness, her death, the funeral, how much you miss her.

I was never open with my friends. I always tried to pretend that it didn’t bother me, that I was strong enough to handle it. I wasn’t, not really, but people bought the act. Only now, years later, did I discover that people really believed me when I said I was strong enough.

If I had of opened up to a friend about it, if I had of taken the time to explain what I couldn’t deal with them saying and knowing, and what I couldn’t handle, maybe it would have changed things. Maybe people would have seen when I needed help, seen when a little girl needed her mother more than anything else.

Your friends need you to be strong for them in a way, just long enough for you to tell them what you need. What support they can give. They will give it if you ask, but you need to ask for it.

Things will improve. Soon, life will be almost as you knew it. Almost.

“mentally ill lighter sentences”

8 Nov


Everytime something bad happens, be it this, or this, my first thought isn’t “throw away the key” like many other people. It isn’t “some people are just garbage”.

It’s “some people are broken, and need help”. Mercy. Compassion. Even when it comes down to sex offenders, I believe that there is a mental defect causing the issue, not any deep seeded issue in their moral fibre.

There should not be a “lighter” sentence for the mentally ill. There should be an entirely different resolution altogether. If a mother kills her babies while under the grips of Post Partum Psychosis, a disorder that no doctor looked for or asked about, or one that they thought “went away”, is it really all her fault? If a man is hearing voices that urge him to kill, to maim, and he follows their orders because the reality he inhabits involves voices, is it really his fault? Should the punishment for having something wrong with your brain really be jail?

It’s not about having a lighter sentence. It’s not about avoiding punishment. It’s about doing the right thing. It’s about preventing these things from happening ever again. It’s about fixing people, making them whole people instead of the shells their illnesses have made them in to. It’s about having the compassion and dignity to see them for what they are-not criminals, but sick people who have been driven by their illnesses, and left out by society, by a world which refuses to believe that anything invisible is real.

I fight daily with my own demons. The first few weeks after Rosalyn was born, I seriously considered killing her a couple of times. I was aware enough to know that these thoughts were wrong. But with less family support, a little less sleep…I know what could have happened. It keeps me up at night sometimes. I am one of the lucky ones-I got help-I recovered from my PPD, and I sought treatment for what turned out to be bipolar disorder. I got lucky.

Many, MANY individuals have no help. They have no idea how to get help, or may not realize anything is wrong, so stuck in their own reality they are. Our culture relies on sick people to get their own help, which is fine if you break your leg. But a psychotic break doesn’t usually leave you with the will and sense to know something is terrifyingly wrong.

When the mentally ill do anything, when they kill, when they harm, the full wrath of society comes down on them, multiplying the guilt and shame. Imagine having to live with the faces of your dead children forever, and the knowledge that you did this. I have only the guilt of wanting my daughter dead. I cannot imagine living daily with the other. It’s a punishment beyond belief.

There is no lighter sentence when you’re mentally ill. You’re castigated from your community, spit on, considered less than nothing. Because you’re brain is broken. You’re considered a criminal for something you may be unable to control, for something no one took the time to notice.

It’s time we all started to recognize the difference between criminal and sick.



16 Oct

No fucking shit my friend.

Everytime I think mine is getting better, every time I think that maybe, just maybe this time will be different, the wind changes and down I go. Down into the abyss of sadness, over eating, rage and confusion. Down into a land where I am unsure and misplaced, the land of misfit toys not even good enough for me.

Days like those I start to wonder if maybe I just can’t do it anymore. And if it’s worth it. Why am I blessed with this, or saddled with it? What the fuck did I do to deserve this? The answer of course, is nothing. We have what we’re handed, nothing more or less. But somedays, it makes me wish I believed in god, any god, so at least I could find reason or meaning in my illness beyond “just cause”.

We all want a meaning after all, right?

There are days where I look in a mirror and whisper “I can’t do it. I just can’t do it anymore”. There are those days where I stare too long at the pharmacy in my cupboard, wondering just how much of what would do it.

But then there are days when I crawl and play on the floor with my daughters, and feel only joy at being allowed to play with them, to inhabit their world for just a moment. There are days where the sun filters through leaves dyed red and purple and into my house, turning it into candyland. There are days when it doesn’t hurt to be alive.

You can do it. You can do what a very wise friend of mine said, and tell it to fuck off. Tell that little voice in your head that it’s not real, and it’s not that bad. That pain is transient. Tell that voice that tomorrow will be better, and to make it there.

It does suck. I won’t argue that. But you can do it.

“not wanting to be a mom anymore”

13 Sep

Johnny has a question, on this comment.

We’ve all been in that place where we hate being a mother, where we just can’t take another second of it. But what if your spouse is on the sidelines, trying to make it better, and felt like he just can’t?

What would we say? We complain so often that our partners don’t do enough for us, don’t step up to the plate. But if they do, and we’re still unhappy, what then?

Johnny says he’s lost, and he’s trying to put himself in her shoes….can’t we help him really do that? Is there anything we can do to help him?

“how to irritate people who dont like you”

31 Aug

hee hee hee hee hee

Someone searched for my secret super power. BWAHAHA!

My favorite ways?

  • Sign them up for email newsletters. You can REALLY drive someone nuts with those, since some are impossible to cancel out of.
  • Sing out loud at work. Badly
  • If they’re on a diet, bring in yummy smelly greasy food, and talk about how good it is. (This is especially fun if they’re on a diet and STILL look like shit)
  • Make jokes that are really true. They won’t know if you’re joking or not
  • Make absolutely no effort to get along with them. For some reason, this irritates some people.

I realize that you can’t like everyone, but even when I dislike someone, I will pretend. I act very well in fact. I think it’s rude to be blatantly mean and disrespectful to someone. I dislike many people, but it’s my issue, not theirs.

At the same time, some people just BEG to be irritated. This usually occurs at work I’ve noticed.

“rotting smell after birth”

22 Aug


If you smell like you’re rotting, it means GO TO THE FREAKING DOCTOR.

I mean, come on. If you smelled like you were rotting any other time, you’d go, right?

Lochia shouldn’t smell like rot. It smells like ass, but not rot.

“I am so embarrassed I got my period”

3 Aug

Now don’t be.

It happens to all of us. Its special. (Ok, if you’re lying on the floor bleeding like a stuck pig and wondering if you’re ovaries are trying to come out of your body, you might disagree with me on this point).

And ok, some of it isn’t that special. Like here. It wasn’t very special at the time.

But it built character, and that matters, right?

Here’s the thing. This means you’re becoming a woman. You are leaving childhood behind. I don’t care what all the TV shows say, or the books. This is a signal from your body and nature that you are blossoming into something more. Into a being that can create life, give life. You are learning that your body cannot be governed, not always. It’s magical if you think about it.

Don’t ever be embarrassed to buy what you need. (or, just go get a Diva Cup and be done with it.) Walk out without the double bag and be proud. I was actually more mortified when a cashier put it in double bags for me without asking-why would I be ashamed of a natural process? My body is doing what it should-bleeding to remind me that I haven’t created life just then.

I was embarrassed as hell when I got mine-and annoyed. Because I had no one around me to help make it a celebration of life-the giving and continuance of life, to celebrate my coming of age. My own rite of passage.

Celebrate for you if nothing else. Dance under the moon, run free through dew wet fields-tie into your world as much as you can. Embrace the womanhood that is coming.

There is nothing to be ashamed of. Be happy and strong, and grow into the woman you will be.

“childbirth – stuff you don’t want to know”

1 Aug

Heh. Where to start.

 Let’s break down the 5 senses.


When you’re pregnant, everything smells odd, and sometimes, awful. Excruciatingly so. People on the bus are magnified until their stench fills your entire being and you want to retch and retch. Food might disgust you. The memory of my father cooking a steak during my last pregnancy comes to mind-the smell and even taste of blood filled my head.

After you’ve birthed your child comes the lovely smell of lochia, magnified if you’ve hemorrhaged. Throw in unwashed human stink and sour milk smell from leaking breasts, and you are a veritable ball of blech that only time can rid you of. I never smelled that wondrous baby smell-I was too busy reeking from the various things dripping from me.

Find good things to smell, to create a barrier between you and the stench. Vaporub comes to mind.


Nothing tastes the same when pregnant. Thankfully that comes back afterwards, but then it’s all tied up in memory. I ate X when I breastfed for the first time. I was eating C when I switched to bottles, I had Chinese the first night we were home. Taste cuddles up with memory, and you find stages in your child’s life to be melded to food.

Somethings taste FANTASTIC. I’m intolerant/allergic/whatever to eggs and dairy. When pregnant, I could eat ALL OF IT I WANTED!!! And I did. However, the guacamole/tortilla/bean with bacon soup meal I had one day? NOT a good idea. Just sayin.


My entire pregnancies were full of touch me/get away from me. It was a greek drama I swear. During the births themselves, I know my husband was there, but I cannot remember what he was doing for the most part. I’m sure he was touching me, but I don’t remember. What I DO remember are the hands of strangers. My own OB/GYN was on vacation for BOTH of my births 2 years (almost) apart, so I gave birth with no familiar faces other than my husband. This is part of the reason I want to go into midwifery. No one should give birth alone in a crowd like that. No one should have their uterus entered by handS after birth to detach retained placenta either, not without drugs. No one should have to remember that helplessness.

Remember that you can control your birth and surroundings. Your body, your child. Take what is yours. Demand what you can, stand up for yourself. Don’t come to regret anything later.


My eyes are already terrible, and didn’t get any better after the birth. But I can tell you, you learn to navigate blind in the night since putting your glasses on makes you stay away. Unless you want to watch the Daily Show at 3 am. Then go ahead and put them on.

I will say that the sight of your child for the first time, regardless how you feel about them, is an incredible thing. I made that! It came from me! now it’s pooping everywhere! You’ll see your eyes, your nose, his mouth. You’ll see years in a moment, and no words could contain or release that. It’s a transcendent sight.


Childbirth is funny-you will hear everything, and nothing. Time will condense into a moment where everyone holds their breath waiting for you to deliver, and yet they’re all screaming at you to push. (Real helpful btw, the screaming) All the intense moments in your life-they build up to this, to the real thing, to the moment of truth where you find the strength you may have never realized you had. This is where being a mother starts-saying you can’t while doing what needs to be done.

And then, they will cry. Personally, I hate hearing newborn cries, but still I remember them taking Rosalyn from me because she had pooped inside, and she was quiet and I remember worrying and realizing how I had counted on hearing that voice.

And then she let loose. How sweet is the sound of life truly beginning.

The stuff you don’t want to know? It WILL change you. Say what you will-say that you won’t turn into a “mom”, that you won’t be uncool or whatever. But to parent, and parent well, you must change in subtle ways. You become stronger, you become a mama bear standing over your cubs, you become a version of you that was never anticipated, but always there, waiting in the wings.

You couldn’t imagine it. I couldn’t. Yet today I sit here wondering what kind of person I would have been without my children. I wonder if I would still feel so remote and distant in the world, so aimless. For me, having children served as a guidepost, a catalyst, for good or ill.

The same might hold for you. No one will tell you this, because it isn’t cool to admit, but suddenly, having the newest “whatever” won’t matter, at least not for the first little while.

But no one will tell you how fantastic of a ride having a child, birthing a child, on your own, without drugs, really can be. Please try it-so many women have such horror stories of their births, of the regrets they have, the voices they didn’t use. USE YOUR VOICE.

Find the answers. Ask the questions. Listen to your body. There really is no stuff you don’t want to know, just stuff no one will tell you.