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. ūüôā

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.

 

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bipolar · death · depression · Life · Meds · mental health · mental illness · Thankfulness · Thoughts

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.

 

bipolar · Life · Long term Therapy · Meds · mental health · mental illness · symptoms · Thankfulness · Thoughts

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.)

bipolar · depression · Life · mental health · mental illness · Thankfulness · Thoughts

All quiet..A simple blessing

It’s strange how you can have a down time. When the depression isn’t there and the mania is at bay. You know that somewhere in the back of your mind, you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I’m waiting for another flare up. Which will trigger some anxiety and that’s always fun.

The ‘growth’ on my pituitary gland caused a depression wave from hell.

I wish I could just enjoy what I have now. Live ‘in’ the moment as they tell you. But is that lying to yourself?

I have to always be on my toes for triggers and symptom and all the other stuff. Leaves you on pins and needles at times.

But I’m trying to forget all that and just enjoy the peace. It’s not as easy as it sounds, I think it kinda leaves you blind sighted to things and you can’t see them coming until it’s too late.

But I don’t want to live on a tightrope.

So, for today; I will eat what’s left of my birthday cake. Read Locke & Key, the graphic novel. And try to get some rest. It’s finally getting cold around here.

I guess that’s living in the moment. Tomorrow can take care of tomorrow.

But I won’t be blind to my environment and what may effect me negatively.

Today is a simple blessing and I accept it without reserve.

anxiety · bipolar · depression · Life · Meds · mental health · mental illness · social anxiety · Stigma · Support · symptoms · Thankfulness · Thoughts

Little Blessings

I may not have much of anything. I have a few creature comforts and am thankful for those. I don’t have many friends. There are times I wish I could have more, but more friends creates more drama. And I like to keep things simple.

I’ve been going thru some cycling, depression and total numbness.

As usual, that means a tweaking of medication. So I’m going thru that, I’m just hoping it helps.

My social life is better than it use to be, because I’ve taken the risks. But sometimes things get overwhelming and I want to crawl back into the bed and sleep.

I love sleeping and am not ashamed to say it is my favorite thing to do.

The ultimate escape, complete with dreams.

My appreciation of little blessings is something I’m gonna try and use to improve my mood. From a flower in bloom that makes me smile. To the puppy playing in the grass, which lifts me ever so slightly.

To that one friend who understands what it feels like to just want to quit living. Its pretty scary, the thought process is scary. Some people can’t grasp it, but there are a few of us who know what its like to travel down that road.

And to find someone who doesn’t want to run when you talk about suicide, is a little blessing. It can bring you back from the brink of doing something, irreversible.

So here’s to my blessings, no matter how small or brief.

I am thankful for them. They keep me going. I have one too many illnesses, but it could always be worser than it is right now. I realize that and I can’t let it beat me down.

I have to count each blessing each day, no matter how small.

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

Yeah, no cancer.

I thought I would be ecstatic, but again, that would be mania. Don’t get me wrong, I am pleased not to have cancer. And I am not bothered with having to take thyroid meds till I die.

I’m on psych meds until I die also, it isn’t going anywhere either. Neither is my autoimmune disease (Sjogren’s Syndrome).

But there’s an underlying depression, that Latuda is doing a fucking good job of holding back, I must say.

But it’s there and I can feeling it scratching at the walls. And I am just tired. From the thyroid, from the Sjogren’s (which btw I know more about than my primary doctor). From not getting repairs done in a timely manner on this apartment, (a month and a half to put the covers on some draws, really?)

And now, no hot water for the weekend. It’s almost been two weeks. I have to turn my heat up to 80 degrees to take a 3 min warm shower. It’s this ‘hot water on demand’ type system and no one has any idea how to fix it. Yeah, me.

Yes, there are starving children, homeless children, people without clean drinking water. I AM AWARE OF THIS! Call me a prima donna if that makes you feel better about yourself.

But I suffer also, and it has nothing to do with hot water. Cancer scares, surgeries, bipolar, thyroid adjustment of meds (which has been pure hell), Sjogren’s Syndrome (which is more than dry eyes and dry mouth), chronic pain, insomnia, molestation, YEAH, POOR ME, POOR ME, POUR ME ANOTHER.

That’s not the point. I ask for very little from life. I hope for the best and try to stop expecting the worst. I am trying to change that former thought pattern. TRYING to expect or and hope for a positive outcome. There is ALWAYS gonna be SOMETHING. There is ALWAYS gonna be SHIT. I know and understand this and am able to deal with it better now, than before.

Thanks to an inpatient stay that changed my life and helped me more than any other, where I learned coping skills, that work better than the ones I knew before.

I have learned to be thankful for each small blessing. And to give thanks to (whomever you choose to believe in or not). For me, its God and I thank him daily.

But I have also learned that with EACH blessing… The Devil gets his cut…

It’s a balance. Yin/Yang. Good and Evil.

Some people never go thru this in life. Good for them. But it may just be an appearance, because ‘you’re not living their day to day life’. You only see what they want you to see.

So, yeah. No cancer. I am grateful, believe me. So is my family. Especially my mother.

I bask in that.

Now I would just like to bask in a hot shower, before people start complaining.

anxiety · bipolar · mental illness · Self Image · social anxiety · symptoms · Thankfulness · Thoughts

The thread that runs thru everything

Bipolar doesn’t control my life, but it runs thru every aspect and action and thought that I have; everything I do. I find myself thinking, ‘it’s your illness, get a grip’. Or doing something that is, “illness” behavior. Kinda like an eating disorder thinking thing, I have that too. With the eating disorder you might think, ‘oh I can’t eat that, it’s has so many calories and I’ve eaten too many today and blah,blah, blah”.

For Bipolar the thoughts get more complex and turn into some domino effect and next thing ¬†you know; you’re depressed or in the bed with the covers over your head.

I find it hardest to go outside and meet people. To extend myself past my safety zone. I’ve been rejected because of my illness, judged and stereotyped. Who hasn’t. But it’s not a reason to give up and give into this ‘thread’ that pops up to all I do and all I am.

I guess it comes with acceptance. And learning how to handle “IT” instead of it handling “YOU”. That takes time and lots of self talk and therapy and experience. I’ve had over 20 years to get here, and I’m not even there yet.

I have my days, but stability can slip away so easily. Medication failure, been there, done that; Traumatic experience, like a death. Been there also, the hardest part is the journey back and being mindful that you’re gonna have to second think a lot of your actions and decisions. I hate that part. But I have to think pro’s, con’s and am I manic?

Someone asked on a board if their Mental Illness was a blessing or a curse. I think it’s both. I never saw the world the same way as I do now. It was like a veil was lifted and everything was brighter and clearer and all the things I thought were important or was raise to believe were what I should aim for in life, were squashed in an instant. I became an independent thinker and I was no longer a ‘sheep’.

And then there’s the curse. But, I can deal with that. On a good day and even on an average one.