anxiety · bipolar · Life · mental illness · social anxiety · Stigma

Alice at the tea party

There are many times I have used this reference. Usually when I was feeling like everyone around me was mad as the hatter and I was the only sane one. Funny thing is it was my anxiety reacting to my surroundings.

Too much noise. Too crowded. Other people enjoying themselves boisterously. Not feeling like I was supposed to be in the presence of others. The tea party left me feeling overstimulated and I shut down. Closed myself up and walked away or closed my eyes and wished I were someplace else.

My social anxiety was in full swing tonight. There were many times I was about to bolt and just go home. I NEEDED to go home. Home is safety and sanity and my own creation. Out there is some wild shit.

I did enjoy myself tonight. The company of two people helped me hold it together.

I was at a Drop-in for people with mental illness and there were various types of people with different diagnoses. Party type atmosphere with people feeling secure enough that they did not wear the masks they wear out in public.

It wasn’t mayhem or an old movie scene of an asylum. People were simply enjoying themselves without being judged. The problem was Alice (me) and her anxiety.

It’s not that I felt superior to the others at the table. Many had more degrees and were more intelligent than I. Mental illness will rob you of that sometimes. And you need to remind yourself of the accomplishments of the past. Or present.

I’m high functioning. To see me, talk to me or just be around me. You would think I had my ducks in a row and my shit was all together.

I’ve sat through conversations with people who judged and bad mouthed the mentally ill. I immediately corrected them about their one-sided observation without telling them I was BiPolar.

It’s none of their business. BiPolar isn’t who I am so why introduce my diagnosis into the conversation. I felt if I had they would think ‘oh, she’s one of them and that’s why she’s correcting us.’ Coming from someone who they considered to be ‘put together’ I felt at the moment the lack of personal information gave more credibility to my argument.

I’ve told people I was BiPolar and watched them walk out of my life. For that reason alone. There were no incidents. Just fear on their part. It didn’t matter that they knew me for many years. All of a sudden I became something to fear. I had magically changed into a STIGMA and not a person.

There was nothing wrong with tonight’s Drop-in. As I said, the problem was Alice or rather me. Overwhelmed. Tired and closed down Me.

Closing down is a defense mechanism. Close your eyes, block out the noise and fall silent. Shut down and regroup. Leave the tea party.

I sit here now with insomnia. Typing away and needing to sleep. It’s almost one a.m. and I’ve been up since five a.m. yesterday. I’m hoping that blogging will clear my mind and ease me into a relaxed state.

There will always be times I feel like Alice. I realize this and accept it.

It doesn’t have to be a room of people who have mental illness to make me feel this way. It’s happened at the most in opportune times. With ‘normal’ people. I would feel the room spin and the walls close in and there was just TOO much going on for my senses to handle. I couldn’t leave. Overwhelmed and stressed, I close down.

I get quiet. Politely nod my head and eek out a thank you or whatever is called for at the moment. Fight the intense urge to flee the whole situation and desire to run home. Sometimes you can’t.

Anxiety. Social anxiety. One is bad enough without the other.

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anxiety · bipolar · depression · Life · Poetry

Empty Mornings – A Poem

Waking up

Opening eyes

Dry mouth and sore thighs

The chairs are barren

The table set

The dishes washed

I never leave a mess

No one ever calls

But just in case

The apartment is clean as gallery walls

Silent Sundays

Still Friday nights

Saturday is for television

And Popcorn for one

Things become familiar

Medication routine

Waiting for it all to kick in

So I can function once again.

Searching for the meaning of this emotional state

Popping a pill to quell the anxiety

Eating chocolate to satiate

Not knowing what I want

Not knowing what I need

Just knowing there is emptiness

If it stopped suddenly

I would find it all peculiar

Living so long like this makes living without impossible

And Saturday’s are for television

And Popcorn for one.

DIH – 9/26/18

anxiety · bipolar · mental health · mental illness · Self Image · Thankfulness · Thoughts

Morning Walks

 

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My morning walks are helping my moods. It lifts my spirits and allows me to clear my mind of negative thoughts and things I have to do for the day. They reduce my anxiety and that is the main thing.

Although I did have two in a row after coming back from one recently. Triggers and timing are all I have to say about that incident.

I believe I am stable which is a good place. I’m feeling so much better about myself and am taking steps to improve my self-esteem.  Things just don’t seem to bother me as much. I have my fears and doubts and a full range of emotions. Just like everyone else.

I can control somethings in my life and accept that there are things which are out of my control. I’m not a control freak, never have been. In the whole circle of things, I need to remind myself that others will believe what they will and do what they do, no matter what you advise.

I can’t save the world. And I don’t think I want that responsibility either. I can make changes in my life and hopefully advise positively to my friends. I can raise my voice to things I support. Help when I can and provide random acts of kindness without expecting anything in return. I love doing this the most. 🙂

There are a few things I want to do that are simple and will provide me with joy. Nothing serious, just little goals which make me happy. I like taking pictures with my phone, posting on Instagram or just scrolling through others pictures of nature. I’m trying to keep things simple as possible, that’s when I function at my best.

When you’ve got a three-year-old running through the apartment above your head you thank God for headphone.

“Just Hold Me Like Johnny Cash.” – Lenny Kravitz is a beautiful song I think I will hold in my heart forever. It’s off his new album “Raise Vibration.” Required listening.

My mother is still alive. There’s a loneliness to the song for me. Being alone. Always wondering if and when someone will come into my life. Wondering if I’m cursed to die alone. I think that’s my biggest fear.

 

anxiety · bipolar · Meds · mental health · mental illness

The other side of the temporary

 

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**I’ve just realized I’ve been going through this shit since March! It started in November 2017 and peaked in March when Latuda quit on me. Crazy, no?**

I have always respected others decisions to take or not take medication for whatever their diagnoses. I have tried doing without medication for my BiPolar etc. I’m just one of the many who need meds to function in a stable state of mind.

I’m stable and am so thankful every day. I look forward to actually DOING things. I haven’t been like this in years.

I’m more positive without being a Pollyanna. I still have my dark side and morbid sense of humor, sarcastic streak etc. Binging on Penny Dreadful has been so refreshing for me. Something that has EVERYTHING I love about that genre. So well written and acted.

I still love TWD and gonna catch up on FTWD. So much TV, so little time.

I got rid of cable and find myself getting more things done. Kinda. Just finding new things to occupy my time. Pokemon Go might be a new addiction. At least I get to walk more 🙂

Instagram is also something I’m doing. Positive posts about mental health and life. Sometimes concentrating on mental illness can be depressing. I like saying mental health. Yes, it’s an illness that you can’t fix. At least we can treat the symptoms.

I’ve taken some pictures on my phone and some are good. I like nature shots and odd things. Not into portraits or food or thousands of selfies. I still have the self-hatred shit to deal with, but I’m making progress.

Did a lot of walking this morning. So tired. It’s hot. ugh.

Family drama. As usual, but I’m keeping my distance. Dyed my hair. Not the color I wanted. It’s a nice black with blue highlights. Not brave enough for the full purple locs yet. LOL.

Discovered what an incredible photographer Julian Lennon is @julespicturepalace on Instagram. Each photo moves me and inspires me like true art should. This is the way I feel about Van Gogh and Sondheim and Motzart. My soul sways and I’m floating at the beauty. It’s been a long time since something has moved me like that. I love the cloud photos and the water with the blues he plays with and the landscapes. I’m partial to his B&W shots too. I love B&W photography with the shadows and the pure stark reality. Can’t hide in candy colors. I respect that.

I don’t know names of painting or movements in music. But I know what I like. I love his work.

Haven’t been able to truly write for months. With the med changes, I could barely make posts here. I was just starting to learn Italian when it all hit. Have to go back to lesson one. 😦  I’m not giving up though.

Hopefully, that will change. My friend was editing some of my stuff until she had an operation. Have to send a Marco Polo her and see how she’s doing.

Ciao

anxiety · bipolar · Meds

Medication change update and state of mind.

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Medication changes might cause you to take dorky pictures. I still have trouble smiling. I don’t know why. It’s something I have to examine.

This damn thing has been going on for over THREE months! I’m almost off of Latuda. The titration down has been rough. The only thing that has reduced the side effects has been eating three hearty meals a day. It’s hard because my new med leaves me with no appetite. I end up force feeding myself. Not pleasant.

I don’t eat much during the summer months which complicates the situation.

My mania landed Craig Charles a bunch of T-shirts for his Birthday and an early Christmas gift. LOL! I’m cool with it. He gives me so much with his show and the tweets he answers when he’s not too busy. He doesn’t have to and Craig and his wife have been very kind to me. Sweet people.

I have gained some positives from the experience. A few days of absolute confidence. Something I haven’t felt in over twenty years. I hope to hold onto a piece of that when things finally settle down. I can’t remember when all this started. Mornings are interesting until I’m medicated. Nothing serious. Concentration is hard.

Events like this after over ten years of stability remind me that there is no cure for BiPolar. Just treatments for symptoms. That goes for all mental illnesses. One may think they are fine because the symptoms have gone away. The depression, anxiety etc. It’s always there. Medication may be keeping it at bay or effective therapy or change of living situation. You just don’t know what trigger is down the road which will bring it back. I just hope that it doesn’t happen for all of you.

I am lost at the present moment. I had plans to learn Italian. My lack of concentration puts that on the back burner. Will I be able to write again? Who knows…. Gonna have to wait for the muse to visit.

The screenplay I was planning on writing based on a Manga book has already been done. And it SUCKS! Always has to add some stupid female sex partner. SMH

Entirely missed the megalomanic tendency of the character which drives the story. Pity.

Still might do it for my own pleasure. Just to polish my writing chops in that medium.

There was a dangerous game being played as the adjustment was/is being done. A dangerous side effect Tardive dyskinesia:

  • twitching or uncontrollable movements of your eyes, lips, tongue, face, arms, or legs.

This is the fear I had with Latuda. I was on three meds where this could happen. It scared the shit out of me. I’ve seen it happen to a friend of mine. I was at a distance so he couldn’t see my reaction. It scared me and I wanted to cry. He saw a Neurologist and was able to stop the side effect as well as get off the med.

My pdoc before the one I have now, put me on Dry Vitamin E (dry due to my stomach issues so I would absorb it.) Part of me believes that this helped and I pray it continues.

All I can say is you have to make sure you understand the pills you are popping down your gullet. Read up on them and make it apparent to your pdoc that you are aware of their side effects etc. Don’t go into this blind.

Watch your body for changes and keep in contact with your doctor if something changes. Be aware of your body and your mind. Hard to do. Takes some time to learn. Achievable!

There has to be a level of TRUST. You must trust your pdoc and they must trust you to report changes etc. and to take your meds religiously.

As I settle down and begin paying some bills, I will have to mark this down somewhere so I won’t be caught off guard. Ten years from now I don’t want to repeat this crap. Hell, I’ll be sixty-one!!

 

 

anxiety · bipolar · Life · Meds

Mentally Diligent​

I can’t stress the importance of being aware of your mind and your actions when you are BiPolar. I’m not saying you can stop everything, but you can curb yourself from heading into a dark place.

Things were running through my head this morning. I was cycling again. Started yesterday. Crying sometimes. Depressing thoughts other times. Shutting down and wishing I could just make it all stop.

I thought I could last until next week, but I couldn’t. I called and got squeezed in this afternoon and got a bump in my meds.

I avoided a deep depression and a week from hell.

Being Mentally Diligent is hard to learn and takes years of input from your therapist and family and lots of re-thinking your actions. At least it did for me. I am self-aware and it keeps me diligent of my illness and how my meds are working or not working.

Let’s see how this goes. Another adjustment and another appointment next week. I am blessed and lucky. I wouldn’t survive if I didn’t have the help I get from my support system.

People, therapists, psych doctors and the drop-in center. I guess it takes a village.

anxiety · bipolar · depression · Life · Meds · mental health · mental illness

For just a Millisecond…

 

There are twenty-four hours in a day. Fact. Within each hour I struggle to hold it together until stability lays itself at my feet once again. Within each hour there are seconds and milliseconds that clash with thoughts and emotions that swirl within my mind as I try and piece it all together into something I can call survival.

I try not to let this overwhelm me. I breathe, I distract, I medicate and detach myself from others so I won’t say or do something I will regret later. My tongue is sharp and my anger, angst, irritability shows when in the company of my family.

I apologize.

I may not be able to say that word enough or at the right time. But it is felt within my heart. For each short tempered moment and each barbed quip.

It is for these reasons I hate medication changes. I get ten years of something working well and then it fails me and I have to start from some lost place and hope to get back to somewhere where my only worry is what to do and not what my mind is doing.

My mother came by yesterday. It was a mixture of nerves and happiness. These feelings weren’t her fault. She did nothing wrong. It was all me. I knew I had to care for someone besides myself and I was overwhelmed. That is the answer to many questions in my life. Overwhelmed. Just holding it together is overwhelming. And that’s with medication that is faltering.

It has taken me so many years to get to a place of stability and to feel it teetering scares me.

I just wanted to lay calmly in bed today. I had taken my meds and played a few games on my phone to ‘distract.’ Napped a little and became agitated while listening to some CDs.

I just want peace and quite right now. I want to be alone. I need an adjustment on my present dosage of new medication. But my appointment is two weeks away.

I’ll be ok. I have to be. There is no alternative.

I can’t deal with other people’s lives and faults at this moment. It’s taking all I have to knit myself back together.

I want to do so much. I have so much to offer, I know this and have always known this somewhere inside. But I lack self-esteem and self-worth.

So I sit in front of my light-box and type this to relieve some of the thoughts rambling through my head. Today will be slow and so will tomorrow. I’ll go to therapy and then retreat back to my home to lick my wounds from stepping out the door.

It’s so hard to socialize and take the risks of not feeling safe.

I feel like I walk through a hurricane each day without protection. Each moment is a struggle and I fight against the wind and rain, but I continue to walk forward because I have no choice. There is some shelter in medication and therapy and I gratefully take them in as they ease the gale forces momentarily.

I step out into the storm again and take each millisecond and knit it into the next and hope to create something I can recognize as survival. Until I finally reach home and some state of stability.

How can you tell someone who lives each day like this too ‘shake it off?’

I will never understand that mindset. And they will never understand mine. I accept this and continue without their approval. Because I don’t need it.