Present Tense – where I’m at


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I’ve often wondered why some people take so long to get on with their lives after someone dies. Why they create these “mini” shrines to the person in their houses and visit the person’s grave year after year on the day of their death like it’s a national holiday or something.

I don’t want to remember the day you died! I want to remember your life. I want to talk about you and have the memories of our conversations and love for each other stay with me every day.

In the beginning, my mom wouldn’t mention my brother because she was afraid it would upset me. While I was doing the same thing for her; afraid I would upset her. Thanks to my therapist, I was able to see this and we started talking. It feels good to talk about my brother.

He was a caring and charismatic man. He loved life, a little too much. He was no saint, but he tried. My father did a serious number on him mentally and physically and it wasn’t until maybe 5 years ago that he felt comfortable enough to tell me about it.

That’s a long fucking time! My father was a complete dick. And I don’t believe in that, don’t speak ill of the dead crap. If you were a dick in life, death doesn’t absolve you of all the crap you did and left behind.

My brother never hurt anyone but himself. He was ADHD before they had a name for it, so it was hard. He was in denial about his mental illness, so he self-medicated. Which is something my family has done on both my mother’s and father’s side of my family. Which leads me to believe there was a lot of undiagnosed mental illness. Plus being black back in the 40’s and 50’s wasn’t a blast in the USA.

It’s hard to look at his picture at times. And sometimes I stare at it and caress it and move on from there. My mom says sometimes she hits it. I guess that’s the anger portion. He should have taken better care of himself. And everything was falling into place, he just needed a little more patience. Hard for someone who was in chronic pain, depressed, afraid of therapy and facing their first operation. He was very sick.

In a way, I’m glad he doesn’t have to live through my mother’s passing. Whenever that takes place. He simply wasn’t strong enough, he took my father’s and my sister’s death hard. He would still cry over my sister’s death. I know he would have offed himself after my mother died. He told me so.

I like the way they express ‘condolences’ in Finland. “I take part in your grief”. Makes you feel like the person truly understands what you’re going thru and is there for you. But as my friend said, after awhile they are all platitudes.

Not to put them down, but what do you REALLY say to someone who has lost someone? Secretly, you feel sorry for them, but you can’t go up and say, “I feel sorry for you man, just glad it wasn’t my mom.” So you say, “sorry for your loss” etc. etc. and run home and hug your family and call your relatives.

Understandable. Grief is a personal thing. It takes time and patience and no obsessing. Or else you’re just as dead as the person you’re grieving for in the first place. Feel the pain is what I say. But reliving it every year by visiting the grave, my god how depressing. Dredging up those feelings again.

I am living and working with my issues and diverting my attention away from my health issues with writing and hopefully reading the graphic novel series SANDMAN. While finishing my short story.

Day by day and moment by moment. I can’t look further than that, I’d become overwhelmed.

Thank God for my Meds.


Life without 

It’s hard sometimes when you remember that someone is gone. But it doesn’t mean that it’s the end of things it’s just an adjustment period. 

Before life turns into something you can handle.
He passed in April and now it’s July. The year is almost over and it’ll be his birthday in November. He would’ve been 55, that’s too young. 

What helped me survive was writing. I wrote a short story.  I’m still struggling with description but once I have that down I hope to get it published. It’s about someone who’s bipolar and some of the difficulties she has gone through. I hope to get it published one day but I’m not rushing myself because then I will become overwhelmed. The Sjogren’s has seemed to have settled which is great. That means my meds are working. Fewer flareups. Knock on wood. 

Life is full of ups and downs. I’ve been through my fair share and I imagine there are more up ahead. 

But I made the decision to get on living, so this is part of the package. I hope to come back and add some more but right now I’m waiting on a ride and I figured I’d let you know that I’m OK. 

The meaning behind my absence


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I’ve always been the kind of person who knew something or rather ‘felt’ something was coming, before it got there. The day I wrote the poem, “The Blackest Wings” I thought I was writing of my own death or another illness piled upon the ones I already have.

I felt like death was hovering around me, and it was close, but I couldn’t put my finger upon it, but it was something I should be prepared for, so I braced myself. For the past year I have been preparing for my brother’s death. He wasn’t deathly ill, but I knew he would be the next in our family to die, I knew it was time for a death. We had had two births and the devil was due his cut. I knew this as well as I know my name.

And that morning I wrote that poem, I never put the two feelings together. And here I am, connecting dots and writing of my brother’s death.

The day before he died, I had told my therapist I was afraid for him. That he was going to do something stupid. Like drink too much or something like that, I just knew something was not right for or with him. She asked me what I thought it was and with a straight face I said, “I’m afraid he’s dead.” The next morning, we found out he was, we still don’t know why, just that it was medical.

People keep asking us how and about toxicology reports and other rude rumors. For he did party and dabble and peoples minds always think the worse.

It doesn’t matter to me the HOW! Just the fact that he is GONE. I will never see or hear my brother’s voice again. Part of me didn’t believe it. Still expecting to hear from him, to hear that it was a mistake. But eventually, I deleted his phone numbers from my phone and realized, he was gone.

I never blamed God or damned him. I would just keep crying that; ‘someone took my brother away.’ In the beginning all I could do was cry and feel anger. Anger that he left me. Tears because he wasn’t here to protect me anymore. He was the oldest.

My mother lost her first born and when I told her, the words she said were, ‘I wish I could dig up his father and beat him and kick him and beat him for what he did to my children.’.

My father never knew how to be a father, cause his died when he was very young. And he basically raised himself. But it wasn’t until my ’40’s that I learned of the physical and mental abuse he put on my brother and how it tore him up inside like a secret eating at his soul.

He never had a chance to come to terms with those feelings. He was just beginning therapy and beginning a path where good things were ahead, it just required patience. Something someone with ADHD has very little of and he didn’t have the tools to move thru this life with mental illness.

I tried to teach him what I could, and he learned a few tricks thru his faith.

Faith or rather a promise is what brought me some peace concerning his death. The promise of resurrection, when we will be reunited again.

I’ve never spoken of religion here, because although I have my faith. I don’t go to church. I simply believe and respect everyone else’s right to believe and practice whatever works for them to live in this world.

But this soothes me and works for me and quelled my anger. Lessened my tears. Although there are days I still cry in my breakfast and wake with the words, ‘my brother is dead’.

I have to wake a half hour before I can take my psych meds. They are the hardest half hour in my life. For I grieve all over again and I realize without my Latuda and Xanax, I would be in deep distress.

The funeral is on Friday and I expect tears and that sharp pain in my heart again when I see his body, one final time. I’m not looking forwards to it. I wish it were done and over with and then there’s the repast my relatives want. But my mother and I do not. We just want to go home and crawl in the bed and sleep.

And can I add that funerals are more expensive than it takes to live a month of life. We had to scale back so many things and still, almost didn’t have enough. I hold disgust for this necessity of life and the greed surrounding it.

I had to write the obituary, a small blurb for the pamphlet and put together photo’s and a list of music for a DVD, which was a free offer. Gee, thanks for the 6 hours of staring at my dead brother and cropping and scanning photo’s. But he has a killer playlist.

I don’t know how long until I write here again. I have a short story to write, which will take some time. Baby steps towards my novel. I’ve taken some courses on writing, which have helped tremendously. Did all this over the past three weeks. Over achieving.

I’m not gonna end this with a goodbye. Instead, I’ll end it with a quote.

“My heart has joined the thousands, for my friend stopped running today.” – Richard Adams, Watership Down.



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You can have many conversations and relationships throughout your life. Passing and intense and meaningful. You can begin friendships and acquaintances online and in real life.

And it still amazes me how once THAT person discovers you are BIPolar and have Depression or are Schizophrenic or whatever, you may as well have said, “Oh by the way, I have the Black Plague”.

Potential friendships disappear, relationships dissipate and acquaintances may as well never have existed.

The STIGMA is so strong, that once you were a ‘nice’ person. Now you are a Leaper (nothing against leprosy). Just because you have a mental illness.

No one wants to be around you and all the good you are and have done, might as well have never happened.

I’m tired of it. It’s wrong. I am not ashamed to have an illness. I have never killed someone or abused a child. Why treat me like some pariah?

I am still human. I still have hopes and dreams, like anyone else. I’m no different. I’m the same person you THOUGHT was so ‘nice’ a while ago.

It’s YOU who has changed.

Waking up


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To wake up crying for no other reason than I’m awake. I’m depressed and know it’s probably the rain or the fact that I missed doses yesterday. So I am in pain. But I can’t do anything about it until I take the morning dose on empty stomach a half hour before my other meds.

So, I’ve been busying myself with cooking and making playlists. I got up at 2am crying, wishing I was dead. Not wanting to be in this world anymore.

I’ve been here before. There is no reason beyond the fact that it is the nature of the beast. No event, no word uttered or knee pain. I’m on a downswing of depression and I’ve got to ride it out. Meds will help, talking with my mother will help. This, the writing, will help.

Hopefully it won’t last long.

And the Answer is: Anxiety


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I’ll take “REASONS TO STAY IN BED ALL DAY ” for $1,000.


There are times I wonder if my days are nothing more than a wheel of ‘mis’fortune. Not to say its all bad. I might win a contest for some small thing, or get to spend some time with my mother and utterly enjoy the whole day. Or get to sleep without shuttering from my mind wanting to get up, but my body not being able too.

All types of crap happen. And when you have more than one diagnoses, you don’t know what to pick. Is today a BiPolar day, depression episode or anxiety attack.

My anxiety has been on high. I worry about my mom and I have a morbid obsession with how I will react or live once she passes.

Will I lose my mind? What will I do when I need someone to turn to and no one is there. There’s this fear about being alone, since there is no one presently in my life.

I wake up, go thru my daily routine. We talk and then; the rest of my day goes by until I call her before bed. This gives me reassurance that someone cares.

My mother is my rock. And there are times I am hers, and I like that.

My anxiety levels go pretty high and without the xanax and occasional other med, I would be inoperable. I feel it build and build and I want to eat everything in the house and I pace and I shake and it’s one major mess.

That’s where I’ve been lately. Except the day I shut down.

There I was, sitting in the waiting room for my therapist and my mood hit rock bottom. I could just stare and barely talk. My therapist is so good, she helped bring me around, able to make eye contact and sentences.

Things have been strange. I’m still able to put in an hour a week to development of the book. So, I guess it’s not a complete loss.

There was a writing course offered, but I’m broke. Only $400 and it would teach you how to develop characters, plot etc..  Coursera is an incredible site. I’m just too poor. Oh well.

Will share again, when I am able.

Medication and Side Effects – My take


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The Cake Walk


I’ve always been amazed at those commercials about medications on tv that tell you about how wonderful a medication is and then go thru the list of all possible side effects.

May cause shaking, dropsy, walking or eating in your sleep, drowsiness, scurvy and death.

They always say death the last. Just the possibility of one of the side effects is enough to turn people away from the benefit. And I understand that fear. I’ve seen some pretty scary side effects from psych meds over the past 20+ years. I’ve had a few, not too serious ones.

Like the death mask. It was a dark rash, only on my face, that highlighter my skull. Like a skeleton mask. Not very attractive and not the normal side effect. Of course I stopped taking the med and it went away.

I’ve always made sure that when I was about to have a medication overhaul, I was in the hospital. That way, if the side effect was severe, I was in a safe place.

I’ve been on A LOT of meds since my diagnoses. One doctor joked, ‘do you rattle when you walk’. Meaning, with all the pills rattle around inside me so loud, that you can hear them. Not very funny, and there were times I was ‘over’ medicated. So I had to go back in the hospital for my own safety and they took me off all my meds and started from the beginning.

I’ve been thru all the SSRI’s, only been prescribed one MAOI and had a  reaction to that one.

I’m not going to talk about all the side effects I’ve been thru, if you want a greater understanding of meds, here’s a good start.

Mental Health Medications it on the NAMI sight.

I understand that the choice to medicate or not to medicate ones self for a mental health illness is personal. There are people who have told me that I’m pouring poisons down my throat and that they’ve gotten over their problems without meds.

I was like, ‘problems?’. Well you know what, good for you. God bless you. Buddha bless you and have a great day.

But for what ails me, I need meds. For my own mental health, safety and peace of mind. I want to be here. I don’t want to hurt others in any way. Not to say I’m gonna get dangerous, but words can hurt you too; and when I’m angry, I can be pretty hurtful.

I give a pill 2 weeks worth of side effects and if they haven’t gone away, I know it’s not for me. I’ve done the thorazine shuffle and have sat there, like a zombie disconnected from the world. But it’s gone away in time or rather I adjusted.

I’ve never had Tardive dyskinesia, which is rare; because most of those meds which cause it, aren’t used any more. But I’ve seen it and yes, it is scary to have and too watch. But I’ve also seen the person recover, pick up the pieces and move forwards with a medication that worked and got their life back. Working, driving and pursuing love, which was very important to him.

You can’t give up on the pursuit for the right medication. It took me 20 years to finally find one that kept me stable. Looking back, it didn’t exist when I first got ill. But it’s here now and I’m here now, because I just didn’t give up.

It’s no cake walk. And you will be surprised at the amount of strength you have in yourself to just keep moving forwards and trying different meds. Different combinations, or cocktails as I call them.

What works for you, may not work for someone else. We are all individual beings, so why should one med work for all people.

For those of us who choose to medicate, keep this in mind. It may not happen overnight, or it might, but eventually it will happen. You will feel better. And if you do, be conscious enough to realize, it isn’t because it went away, but rather; it’s because you’re medicated and the meds are working. SO KEEP TAKING THEM !!!

Mental Illness isn’t a cold or the flu. The meds aren’t designed to be taken for 7 days and then quit because you’re cured. No.

Its like having diabetes. You have to take them every day too keep the symptoms from reoccurring. So yeah, it’s a life thing for the majority of us.

So yeah, I’m married to my meds. And I know, I am only able to write this, because of the meds. I am stable in this moment. And that’s all that counts.

Not the number of meds or the side effects I’ve been thru or how long it took to get here. But the fact that I am here, and I have many friends who are not. Who didn’t survive the battle and it is an internal battle, fought daily and won by me and my meds.

And my fucking medal is LIFE.

(She drops the mike.)

Undertaking – Considering a book


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I let it slip in therapy that I was considering writing a book. Hell, who isn’t. Mine would be a story concerning mental illness and hope.

Although there is much more to it, I’m not gonna give it all away here, in case I’m unable to follow thru. It’s hard sometimes just to remember to post to the blog or call a friend or return an email from someone important.

It’s not that I get busy, but the moods sometimes distract from the task at hand.

I hope I can give at least an hour towards character development etc. and then dive into the story, which I have started already. I just want to make sure I have enough structure.

I can’t promise anything, but I hope I can do it. It would mean so much to me and reflect what its like to be BiPolar without the ‘snake pit’ image portrayed so often in the past.

For those who don’t know the ‘snake pit’ reference. Click here – SNAKE PIT


Not to say it wasn’t a good movie. But the treatment of the mentally ill is different now and still lacking.

I just want to open some eyes and get this story out of my head somehow. I just hope I can do it.


So, very tired


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Tried to get out of the house today. But I am just too tired. There are days when all I’m doing is dragging from one room to the bed. And no matter how positive I think or how much sugar or protein I ingest. My body is just too tired to move.

I’m off one med and waiting to see how I am feeling to see what other med I can be put on for the microplactinoma. Maybe they’ll just leave things as they are, right now I don’t know.

All I know is that I’m tired. Very, very tired. And I’m scared.

After all these years, BiPolar doesn’t scare me as much as physical illness does. Sure they can most of them, but I seem to be getting the ones that can only be managed. And that’s distressing at times.


The March – a poem repost


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I wrote this poem in April of 2016. I think this is a good time to repost it.

The March

When we join to march on Washington to end Stigma against the Mentally Ill

The turn out will probably be small

I will be there, my mother and hopefully a friend or two.


But CNN, NBC and ABC will probably have better things to do

As I said, the turn out will be small

Maybe a local paper or a blogger

But it won’t make international news,

No BBC World for this strut.


Because in their eyes and closed minds

There is “NO” story.


As for the Marchers,

None of us will have guns or planes or buses to crash into building and mountains

None of us will have shot up a school or post office within the past few days

Many of us will have medication and a water bottle to take them with,

Oh yeah and sunscreen, because some meds make you sensitive to sunlight

You can get dehydrated.


If we get a hundred of us to show up

I would be quite surprised.

It’s not because our numbers are few, oh no

We number in the millions.


If you look to your left

If you look to your right and smile

We are there, the mentally ill don’t wear a Scarlet MI on our foreheads

But we are present.


When the March on Washington to help end Stigma against the Mentally Ill happens

The turn out will be small,

Not because of the numbers,

Rather, because the backlash the next day, will be fierce


For the one Television Station that does show up will broadcast our faces and

Bob from accounting.


And the next day, he will return to work and he will no longer just be Bob

No longer the guy they chat up at the water cooler and play fantasy football with,

No longer the Aerosmith fan in the next cubical, or the one who makes office lunch runs on Wednesday

No longer the cute guy from accounting, with the daughter on the honor roll.

He won’t be Bob anymore…


Bob will become, the ticking bomb

In the eyes of his co-workers and employer

The nut job next door, to his neighbors who use to admire his lawn tending skills

The crazy used to carpool with the other guys, until the March on Washington

And they all saw his face with the sign, “I am Mentally Ill… Let’s do lunch”


For each Mentally Ill person who makes the headlines

There are tens of thousands, who never will.


We fear losing our jobs

We fear losing our friends and our families

We fear losing our lives we have worked on so hard,

Day after day too keep together

like anyone else, with one slight difference.


The therapy, the meds, the coping mechanisms

The private break downs and possible inpatient stays.

All designed to keep it together, and we do.


So, when we all join to battle Stigma

The few of us who have come

I guess we will be there for the Bob’s and Jane’s,

Who can’t attend, because of what they are afraid they will loose.


The Stigma is that strong, the prejudice, the persecution.

Like Blacks and Gays, who have had to fight for years to be seen, heard and counted

I wonder if we will ever get our March, or Stonewall Inn.


We have always been the family secret to me hidden away somewhere since the days of Ancient Rome.

And here it is, here we are today and no one is willing to march with us or for us.

To identify our struggle,


We fight everyday, just to have a life and bring home a paycheck

We seek out treatment and help, when sometimes no help is offered or available.

When we can’t afford our medication and we have to ration out what we have left, if any.


No March on Washington will take place

Because we fear that the love and admiration we may have now,

will turns to fear from our family and friends

Once the mask is taken off and we are labeled.


So the mentally ill won’t come.

The media will pass, Bob’s job is safe

And we will continue day to day

We survive and we do it damn well.

Because we are strong and because we can.