WATCH THIS SPACE!

I am crawling out the abyss of depression and I am going to be writing here again, but I have no idea when or about what. Just putting you on notice. I’m still out here, skulking about, endless conundrums on my mind, trying to nail down some clarity. During a recent panic attack in my therapist’s office, while I was crying hard and she was coaching me to breathe and think of a peaceful happy place, I protested, “I can’t, I can’t.” But I took a deep, cleansing breath and exhaled and imagined….the color turquoise… the color I have always associated with clarity, and then turquoise waters on white sandy beaches, and I began to calm down. It’s obvious, I thought, I only need to go to the Carribean. Then she told me to go to my happy place and my mind immediately switched gears and put me in a beautiful castle in the north of Britain: Hogwarts. I breathed a few deeper breaths and felt the panic recede. If reality was unbearable, there was always the world of Harry Potter and his friends Ron and Hermione. Especially, Hermione, whom I identified with strongly.  Maybe I need a vacation in the Carribean…or Hawaii…(yes, please). Maybe I need to reread the Harry Potter books. Not just watch the movies or listen to the audiobooks. ACTUALLY READ THE BOOKS. I don’t like the narrator’s voice on the audiobooks. If only Alan Rickman had read them! *sigh*

Anyway, it was clear that I had finally hit bottom and needed to find my way back up and out. I had stopped listening to the news. I didn’t care about Trump or anything that was going on. (I know, shocking!!!!). I got sick of Facebook and started purging friends in alphabetical order causing a slight panic among people who don’t even know me. I would post my “memories”, posts from other years, but I hardly looked at my friends’ posts anymore. I deactivated my Facebook and left it completely for 5 days and loved it, but it called me back. There is a love/hate relationship there. But I just stopped thinking creatively. I had abandoned all writing projects. (Simple rule of writing: Writers WRITE.) I watched the same movies over and over, listened to the same books over and over, too lazy to sit up and read from my Kindle or a REAL BOOK. I listened to the same music over and over…..Prince, mostly,(still haven’t accepted he’s gone) and John Mayer. Thankfully, Mayer introduced some new music that I have been positively giddy over. Just the change I needed. His music is always right on time.

So there I was, feeling “meh”. I changed my profile pic on Facebook to Grumpy Cat and made grumpy statements. People were amused. I was deadly serious. And then a friend posted a video that was an incredibly lame attempt at humor at the expense of anyone intelligent enough not to buy into stereotypes. It was a black man, a “gangsta” (their word, not mine) who promised to explain George Orwell’s 1984 from his point of view. So I pressed play, expecting mild humor and was overcome with a horrendous white man’s caricature of a black man, a completely, racist, stereotypical portrayal of this “gangsta” who used language I have never heard come from the mouth of any black person I have ever met, and I know a few. It was shameful. I was embarrassed for the man portraying the “gangsta”, and felt he ought to be ashamed of himself and embarrassed, too, but I supposed they paid him the right price. This video filled me with so full of negative emotion that I really thought for a few minutes I might be having a heart attack, but I recognized it as panic brought on by pure provoked anger. Racism is a trigger for me, for many reasons I won’t go into here. It should trigger anger in everyone, maybe not to my degree. I decided to get some feedback. I shared the post on my Facebook page with the explanation of how racist I found it and how angry it made me and waited for my friends to respond. One hour went by, two hours went by. No response. No likes, no comments. This made me angrier. In my anger-addled mind, I reasoned that probably a  lot of people on my friend list thought this video was funny and didn’t care that it was racist and were too afraid to say so to me. And this made me angrier. And the anger and panic built. I was talking to two different friends by text and they were both trying to talk me through it, begging me to breathe. It just MAGICALLY happened that I was on my way to a therapist appointment that very morning and was about at the boiling point when she called me into her office. So I got in there and finally let go and I told her about the email, and I suddenly realized how really unimportant it really was in the great scheme of things. Yes, racism is important, but it’s vast problem that is not going to be overcome by me throwing a tantrum over a video. And then I remembered, and I told her, “This is not what I wanted to talk to you about.” And I calmed down a little and told her what I had planned to talk to her about, which was some things my mother had said about me to a good friend of mine. Terrible, hurtful, damaging things. As my mother has been the main subject of my therapy for many years, it wasn’t too surprising. But when I looked the therapist in the eye and told her my mother said that I hadn’t turned out the way she wanted, she inhaled sharply and startled a little and for a moment I thought she might cry herself. But she didn’t. I did. HARD. I cried and cried.  I curled into myself in the chair and rocked myself crying and gasping for breath and confessing random worries and secret hurts. “I’m never going to have a baby. My cat is getting old. I can’t deal with losing her. She’s like my baby. ” And on and on, every doubt and fear and insecurity, until I was completely spent. I got my cry out, and cleaned up my face and answered the therapist’s questions. She’s fairly new. I’ve only seen her a few times so she is getting caught up on my history. I explained to her how my mother had emotionally abused me my entire life. That she loved me, but she loved me too much. She was clingy. Nobody loved me more than she did, but she couldn’t stop criticizing me. She made me dependent on her and then when I became independent she flipped the tables and became dependent on me. When my therapist asked, without a trace of irony, “So would you say she used guilt…” I just burst out laughing in her perplexed face. I laughed and slapped her on the arm and kept laughing, nearly hysterical. “Oh, sister!” I said as I wiped the tears from my eyes again. “Does she use guilt??? Yes, ma’am, she does!” And I was laughing again, and she finally laughed with me. And I thanked her. I had needed that laugh!

I told the therapist the other things my friend had reported: my mother’s derogatory comments on my weight and not working. ( I am on disability. She was on disability, too, before she retired. I guess she forgot about that.) I told her my friend said if she had known I would be so upset that she wouldn’t have told me about it, I said that I thanked her. “I felt that she gave me a gift,” I said. “Now, someone else has seen and knows and it’s not just me, it’s HER. I feel validated.”  I told her I didn’t care about the fat remarks and the other stuff, but the part about me not turning out like she wanted was too much. When my friend told me about that, something in me just broke, and I thought, “I don’t love her anymore.” Now anyone who knows me knows what a source of anguish this is for me. Because I have always loved my mother so much, and I strongly believe in God’s command to honor your mother and father. How can you honor them if you don’t love them? I told the therapist that the ones who came before her had advised me to cut her off completely. Maybe that is the healthiest thing to do psychologically. But I have to think spiritually. She is my mother. Can I really cut her off completely? I have compromised. I limit my time with her. When the phone rings and I see it’s her and I don’t feel strong enough, I don’t answer. I wait until I do feel strong and then I return her call. It takes strength and energy to endure a phone call with her. Because she talks A LOT. If I want to get my word in, I have to be determined. And if I want to disagree with something she says, I have to be ready to stand my ground. And I have to do my duty as a daughter and check to see if she is really ok and safe, which is hard to untangle from all of her physical complaints and comments about the house falling down around her. She is a hoarder. My brother and I would like to help her but she refuses to let us. I have to resign myself to just sitting and listening to her prattle on about nothing. Why? Because she’s lonely, and she’s my mother, and who else is going to do it? Yes, Ms. Therapist Lady, she does use guilt, whether she intends to or not. My dad reminds me that my mother is living the life she created, and I know that’s true. What happened between them was over 30 years ago. Yes, he left her for another woman. I’m not defending that. But she has had ample time to get herself together and create a new life, whether that involved getting remarried or not. That is her choice. It is plenty of time for her to forgive if not forget. But my mother does not believe in forgiveness, at least not for people who sin against her. She is still bitter and derisive when she speaks of my father, never caring that it hurts me because he is STILL MY FATHER. Recently, I apologized to my father for believing all her hatefulness about him over the years, that poisoned my relationship with him. It’s a little late in the game, but I think he accepts it. We have a healthy relationship now.

So this is where I am. Still a little girl trying to win her mother’s approval, almost knowing before I start that I will fail. My question for you, dear reader, is this: What do you want to read about? What do you want to hear about from me? Do you want to go with me on the journey to explore the depths of motherhood?  Both the struggle to become a mother myself and the drama of the relationship with the one that I have? My ongoing struggles with depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety? Do you want me to write about politics? The Resistance against the EVIL TRUMP and other stories of the day, or human interest stories from around the world? Focus on incidences of injustice and inhumanity and racism? Maybe a little of everything? Or something yet unnamed? For the first time, I am blatantly asking for a response to a blog. PLEASE COMMENT HERE OR EMAIL ME AT heathersavann@gmail.com   Tell me what you want to read. What do you want to see here? What do you want from me??? I’m gonna try to give it to you, you wankers!!!!! LOVE AND PEACE TO YOU ALL!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ 

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Let’s Go Crazy!

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Electric word, life. It means Forever, and that’s a mighty long time, but I’m here to tell U…there’s something else….The Afterworld. A world of never-ending happiness.U can always see the Sun, day or night. So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills. U know the one. Dr. Everything’ll be alright. Instead of asking how much of your time is left, ask how much of your mind . Because it looks like, things are much harder than in the Afterworld. This life, you’re on your own.”   Prince

Words of wisdom from the musical genius we lost too soon this year. Some of his music is pure sex but a lot of it is very spiritual and it speaks to me on a very deep level. U are missed, your Purple Highness. Even though I hated his use of “U” for You and other shortcuts. I forgave him. Because he was PRINCE!!!💜💜💜💜💜 Anyway, maybe he had the right idea. Sometimes you gotta go a little nuts in this life.Not psycho killer rampage nuts , but just a little crazy. Because this WORLD is crazy. Look around you. Look at this Presidential election we’re about to have. Everyone is on edge. Find a way to let off some steam before you completely blow your top. Embrace your own craziness. Learn to love it. It’s part of you.If you’re freaking out and don’t know what else to do, TURN THE MUSIC UP LOUD AND SING ALONG. And dance if you feel like it. Driving and singing along is especially good therapy. Whatever music does it for you. Your personal favorite artist…mine is John Mayer. Classic rock, 80s, 90s, country, hip-hop,Kenny G. Ok, maybe not Kenny G. Save him for your more intimate moments. Get your jam on!!! Caution: playing your favorite music loudly in your vehicle may cause you to drive faster and more aggressively and will not be accepted as an excuse by local law enforcement if you are pulled over. Trust me. I’ve tried. (“Excuse me, ma’am, you say the MUSIC made you drive faster? Uh-huh. Why don’t you go ahead and step out of the car for me, please, ma’am?”)  So keep your foot off the gas. But sing along! Do a little dance in your seat! Serenade people at stoplights! Live it up! If you’re, home, crank it up and put on a show for the neighbors, especially you apartment-dwellers like me with noisy neighbors. Give as good as you’ve been getting. Just make sure the music isn’t loud enough for the cops to hear outside in case they call and you’re home free. What can they do about it? NOTHING!! I like to put on headphones and sing along so all they get is my voice which you know sounds EVEN BETTER when I can’t hear myself!!! Hahahahaha!!! Crazy? You betcha! Let yourself go a little crazy and see if you don’t start to feel better. Lighten up, loosen up, let go and CHILL. OUT.  Tell yourself, none of this will matter in a hundred years. Because it won’t.Tell yourself, all of this is temporary. Because it is. Good or bad, it will all change. The only thing you have control over is YOU and how you react. There will be serious times that call for serious decisions. Until then, LET’S GO CRAZY!

 

Politics vs. Prose

I should have seen it coming, in retrospect. My anti-anxiety medication, which I normally take on an “as needed” basis, and hadn’t been needing all that often,  I was taking the maximum dose at bedtime every night for months, and wishing for more during the day. I was tense and having trouble sleeping and watching the news obsessively and living on Facebook, posting meme after meme after meme about Trump, Hillary, and all things political, not caring who I offended or bored. My husband was perplexed, to say the least. He tried to reason with me. “Why do you care so much? Why does it matter to you?” I couldn’t come up with an answer, only a question. “Why don’t you care?” He does care, but “they’re both criminals”. And this nation is going to hell and yada yada yada, I can’t discuss this with you, don’t you have a headache, anyway? Seriously, he told me, “You are only one person. All you can do is put your message out there and sit back and wait and see what happens. We are not driving this train.” And my therapist agreed. She asked me  how much attention I give to politics and I explained to her that it was about as much as I would give a job. She said, “That’s a little obsessive.” And I realized she’s right. I’m on disability because too much stress makes it impossible for me to hold a job with my illness. And here I am heaping stress on myself on purpose. But I love politics. It’s in my blood. Perhaps I could take it down to a part time job? This seemed like a good suggestion to the therapist. More drugs is not the answer. I’m already medicated to the max. A change in lifestyle is required. And besides, I’m supposed to be a WRITER, not a political strategist. Whatever happened to that? OH YEAH, that. Not just a blog now and then, but the real writing. What’s going on with that? Well, not much, frankly. I’m working on a memoir project, but I haven’t touched it in two weeks, so I can hardly say I’m “working” on it. I have an idea for a novel, but I have been procrastinating outlining it, probably because deep down, I know it’s a dead end. In fact, when I pitched the idea to the therapist, she laughed and said it sounded like one of those “what do you call it, that channel with all the movies with women in trouble?” And I said, “Lifetime?”  “Yeah, that one, ” she chuckled. (BURN!!!! OUCH. Truth hurts!) And I have a ton, quite literally a TON of reading to do. Just got in three new books and I haven’t gotten through the last two months yet. Who assigned these? Why, I did, of course. I’m doing a DIY(do it yourself) MFA (Masters in Fine Arts degree) program on my own and it requires a lot of reading. It’s legit. Look it up. DIYMFA.com. It’s for people who can’t or don’t want to spend the money and time going to school and have the self-motivation and discipline to create their own program of reading, writing and building community. So I signed up for that and I have a plan, but I haven’t been working the plan very hard. I’ve been obsessing over Hillary and Trump and I’m afraid the next few months are going to be even worse. But I am going to make a very concerted effort to STOP THE MADNESS. Yesterday, as I explained to my husband when he got home from work, I took a mental health day. I did laundry. I never turned on the news. I got on Facebook and shared a few things but mostly stayed away from politics and edited and managed my profile and photos and chatted with a few friends. It was a peaceful, quiet day, and I remained calm and anxiety-free throughout.

In the interest of full disclosure I have to confess that I have recently added well over a hundred, probably close to two hundred new Facebook friends based on politics alone. Just went down the list and added people with Hillary profile pics, building myself a support army for the coming months. It’s lonely being a blue girl in a red state. Also I deleted a few people based on political differences, and I don’t feel one whit guilty about it. One posted “BS” when I posted a pic of Obama wearing a hat that said “I’ve already made America great”. She was an old friend and coworker, and I felt a little twinge but then….nah. The other was a person I liked quite a lot but who unfortunately fell victim to some Hillary conspiracy theories and she was getting a bit psycho and hysterical. If she had been in the room, I would have slapped her just to get her back to reality. I couldn’t deal. She had to go.

I made two commitments. One, to defeat Trump, and two, to get Hillary elected.  So, although I’m sure I’ll have my moments, and I’ll depend on you all to call me out, expect to see a little less of me and my obsessive rampaging on Facebook. Oh, I’ll be there. Don’t you worry your pretty little head about that. I’ll be skulking about. Just dialing it down a notch, that’s all. I’ll be around. My work is not yet done. 😉

 

depression…part three: Prozac Princess

May 1, 1995…This is the day that everything changed in my depressed world  It is the day that my ex-husband and I (FINALLY) separated, and the day I filled the new prescription my psychiatrist had given me for a new drug called PROZAC. I had never heard of it, but the doctor said it was fairly new and initial results were promising. So, why not. The demise of my marriage had proven to me that I was clearly NOT OK on my own and I hadn’t liked the weight gain that had come with my old anti-depressant, so I was game. So, I asked. How long does it take this stuff to work? Doc said I might start feeling a little better pretty quickly but it takes a few weeks to get into your system, about a full month before you start feeling the full effect. He was correct. I did feel better, though almost certainly the cause was psychological, separating from my miserable marriage and moving in with a fun friend from work and planning a new life for myself. But I felt more energetic and cheerful in those first few weeks. Then, almost a month to the day, I remember the moment I felt “IT”.

When I left our old apartment, I moved in with a friend from work, Darlene. Darlene was a party girl. Darlene was fun. Darlene was a bit of an alcoholic, I think, but I loved her to death. Good times! Her complex had a pool. We worked together at JC Penneys at Perimeter Mall and both worked night shift and sometimes we would get up in the morning and lie around by the pool before work. One morning, we did this, right around June 1st I believe, about a month in on Prozac and it was a beautiful, warm, breezy morning, and I floated on my back in the shallow end and closed my eyes and felt the heat of the sun on my face and body and the cool water under me and I spread out my arms and sort of took it all in and a wave of something nameless washed over me. It was like happiness, but it was more. Like everything was right with the world. Like bliss…like euphoria…and then I thought. “That Prozac is some good shit.” And it didn’t go away. It lasted, for days, for weeks, for months. I went through some bad days and I didn’t feel euphoric, but I felt OK. Like I could handle it. Like I could take whatever life dealt me. I stopped crying. I found that I COULDN’T cry, even when I felt like it. That was the strangest thing. I used to cry over the least thing, like a commercial or a movie , and then all of sudden, nothing. I worried briefly that the drug was changing my personality. I decided it didn’t matter. I liked the new me. I felt bolder, more confident, and more positive. I had always been so pessimistic, so negative. The new me could do things, make things happen.

After  several months, I made the decision to go back home to Cullman, and from there try to get back in school. I remember the day I left Atlanta with my dad driving me home, moving all my stuff. I didn’t cry, naturally. I played a tape of Stone Temple Pilot’s “Interstate Love Song” over and over all the way home and drove my dad crazy. I was pumped! Prozac and I had my future all planned out. No looking back. My ex and I were separated, but as far as I was concerned we were over. I just wasn’t giving in. I told him if he wanted a divorce he would have to file and pay for it. It took him a year and a half to do it. Meanwhile, I went back to school and got on with my life and when he finally sent me the divorce papers, I signed them, put a stamp on the envelope (the only thing I paid for) and went out to celebrate with friends. I had done my grieving during the marriage. Thanks to Prozac, I stayed pretty evened out and made pretty good grades. And then I got stupid. I succumbed to some faulty reasoning that plagues many well-intentioned mentally ill people. I thought I was cured. Prozac has cured me, I thought. Therefore, I DON’T NEED IT ANYMORE. So I stopped taking it. And for a while I was OK. Prozac stays in your system for a little while. I didn’t tell anyone what I had done. I didn’t tell anyone until the night I called my mother up talking about wanting to die. I think I may have called my dad too, I can’t remember. But I was deep in depression  and desperate or I never would have called her. In my right mind I would never say a thing like that to my parents. That’s just a bell you can’t unring. Once your mother or father has heard you say you want to kill yourself, they don’t forget it. and they never look at you the same way again. Every time they see you, every time they talk to you, they wonder if it’s the last time, and they wonder if it’s their fault. And you did that to them, and you have to live with it. Their guilt is your guilt. A parent shouldn’t have to wonder these things about a child they brought into the world. So I promised my mother I would go to the psychiatrist and get back on Prozac. And we joked about me signing a contract stating I would never go off my meds again.  I got back on the Prozac and was feeling better within a few weeks. But things were becoming more complicated. The doctor no longer felt Prozac was enough.It was becoming standard to have patients on a “cocktail” of drugs designed to treat their illness and I began taking more drugs. I started taking medicine for anxiety, ADD, extra drugs for depression.  I started to feel like a guinea pig. I was constantly coming home from the doctor’s with samples to take, dealing with side effects, going off and on new medications. I would get to a combination that seemed to work for a while, and then I would start getting depressed again and we would try something else. Always, the Prozac stayed the same, because whenever we altered it, I became extremely depressed. Was I addicted to it? The doctor said no, you can’t be addicted to anti-depressants, but I had my doubts.

During this time, thanks to Prozac, I was able to overcome a major obstacle in my life, a severe debilitating phobia of driving. I was in a terrible accident with my mother when I was five years old and had blocked out most memory of it but was left with this terrible fear that I didn’t realize until I  had to take driver’s ed in high school. Even in the simulators in class, I was terribly nervous and my performance was awful. When I had to get in the car, just sitting in the driver’s seat gave me panic attacks. I drove once and scraped the side of a bridge near school and never went back after that and failed the class. So my entire adult life up until I was 30, I had to rely on someone else for transportation. It was embarrassing, humiliating, inconvenient to myself and others, and really caused problems in my relationships, especially my first marriage, because I was so dependent. The fear was so strong that I couldn’t even try to overcome it. But after I started taking Prozac, I started feeling strong enough to at least try and I began to practice using an old truck of my dad’s. Finally at age 30, I got my driver’s license! Once I started driving, I couldn’t imagine how on earth I had survived up until then. How had I made it through all those lost years? How would they have been different if I could have been driving and independent. I probably would have never married my ex at all. But all we can do is look ahead. Eventually, I got my own car and haven’t been the same since. In recent years, I’ve had periods of illness where the fear has crept back in and I’ve had to stop driving for a while or take anti-anxiety meds but today I am fine and savor my freedom. And Prozac is still part of my daily drug “cocktail”.

I did learn the hard way over the last few years that Prozac can build up in my system and stop being effective, and when that happens, I have to replace it with something else temporarily and  get it all out and then restart it later. I say “the hard way” because I became depressed a couple of years ago and went to the hospital and the doc there took me off of it cold turkey and substituted something else and sent me home a few days later. A few days after that, I was back at the hospital, suicidal, and a different doc put me on something completely different. It was a few months before everything got straightened out and when I started back on Prozac under my private doc’s  care , it worked just like in the beginning. So, about that contract my mother was talking about…:)

depression…part one: suicidal thoughts

It seems only fair that I should follow up my “worst manic moment ever” story with a story about my worst moment of depression. That is something I simply cannot do. I’ve simply lost count of the times that I have been suicidal. I have bipolar II  which is mild to moderate bouts of mania alternating with moderate to severe episodes of depression.Even well medicated I spend most of my time on the depressed end of the spectrum, usually somewhere in the mild  to normal zone.  I can narrow down the number of actual suicide attempts, but just to take you to the brink of death with me would not be helpful for either of us.  I want to talk about what psychiatrists call suicidal ideation or suicidal thoughts.  If you ask a depressed person how they are doing they will most likely say “OK”, even if they clearly aren’t.  From my own experiences, recorded in journals, let me show you a window into the disturbed mind of the suicidal soul.

August 3, 2008

I am going to kill myself. It’s just a matter of time, means, location. I can’t do it right now because my apartment is a mess. I don’t want my body found here surrounded by junk.. Maybe it would be better if my body was never found. I’ve done everything else in life half-assed. I’m going to get this right. I’m going to think this through, plan it down to the last detail. I am going to be in control, for the first time and the last time in my life. There are decisions to be made, which is ironic. I’m terrible at making decisions. I change my mind so easily, and nothing is more final than death. Or is it? I can’t even decide that. I don’t know what I believe anymore. My faith used to be my ultimate protection. I believed in God, God created life, only God can take away life, etc. And most importantly, if I take my own life, I’ll go straight to hell, right? But is that really true? Would God really do that? Is there a Hell to go to? A Heaven? Is there even a God listening to me or have I been talking to myself all these years and calling it prayer? Ugh. I’m already in Hell.

(undated)

 

WAYS TO KILL MYSELF

DRUGS   this would be the simplest since I have plenty, but I’m not sure it’s enough. They’re stingy with samples at the clinic and I’d hate to end up taking only enough to make me sick or a vegetable. Too bad I don’t like to drink. Alcohol could certainly speed things along.

Lately I’ve been thinking of more violent ways to kill myself, I think because I feel like I should be punished. It’s strange that even though I hate myself and feel I deserve pain and suffering, I’ve never gotten into cutting myself like some girls do. I have dreams, images of it, but I can’t bear the thought of it. Does that mean that deep down , I really want to live? Why, then, does it seem acceptable to me to endure seconds or minutes I might experience if I jump off of a building or in front of a train? Even though I’ve considered these things, so far I’ve been too chicken to take such drastic action. I believe one can be passively suicidal and that’s where I’m at. I’m too scared to do it myself, but I have a definite death wish. Ideally, I would like to die in some manner that I could not be blamed for. I find myself jealous of other people’s cancer diagnosis. How sick is that??? Or when I hear of someone killed in an accident, I think, why couldn’t it have been me.If I die in an accident , from a disease, or at the hands of another, my family and friends will grieve for me and remember the good things about me, and they would accept it and in time, move on.They might be able to believe it was God’s will or that it was my time to go or whatever. If I kill myself, they will be heartbroken and will despise me forever. Will I know, when I’m gone whether they love or despise me or whether they ever did? I need a plan. I need to decide when and where and how. I need to clean house, put what’s left of my  life in order. I don’t want to leave a mess behind. I need to find homes for the girls. I’ve heard of people killing themselves and killing their pets too but I couldn’t do that. They don’t deserve that. They can bring joy and comfort to someone else, like they have to me…if only it was enough. Do I have enough insurance to pay for a funeral? Imagining a funeral brings up a whole lot of other problems. Maybe it would be best if I just went missing and my body was never found. Would that be more or less cruel to my mother? Not to have a body to bury. But if I die here, someone has to find me here. Someone, most likely, from work. Which shift, which officers? Which dispatchers would be working? How can I possibly think of doing that to them? I don’t show up to work one day and I don’t answer my phone. How long do they wait before they come over, force entry? How could I do that to my friends? Who would notify my mother, my mother  who loves me more than life. My father, my sweet father. My brother and his wife. My nieces and nephew. The rest of my family, friends. Who would post on my Facebook? I think about each of these people. Imagine every individual reaction. Force myself to imagine the misery caused by ME. All because I couldn’t hold on another day. Couldn’t find something to laugh at. Something to be grateful for. Something to get out of bed for. Something to live for. But there they were, all along.

I may kill myself one day. But it won’t be today. Not as long as I have people to love and people who love me. Not as long as I can find something to laugh at. Something to be grateful for. Something to get out of bed for. Something to live for. And maybe it’s just the Prozac talking, but I think there will always be something. 🙂

 

 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1 (800) 273-8255  US only

 

http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html

 

Bipolar and the Hall of Shame

First of all, let me say that if I was to tell you every negative, embarrassing, humiliating, horrible, awful, thing I have ever done because of having bipolar disorder, this would be a book, not a blog. Not that I blame all my bad behavior on my illness. Just most of it. Some days I’m just a bitch, and no amount of medication is going to fix that. That’s just me being me. But usually, most people who know me will tell you that I am a laid-back easy-going kind of person. One friend once told me if I got any more laid-back she was going to check me for a pulse. I am a confirmed introvert, a homebody, almost a hermit. I don’t go out much. I don’t do much. I am happiest at home in my comfortable little nest with  my loved ones and my wi-fi and my books. I don’t start trouble. Generally. Hardly ever. So the story I am about to share with you will shed some light on the power of  mania in a bipolar person’s life. The following is the biggest trouble I have gotten into while suffering a manic episode. I won’t say it’s the worst thing I’ve done, because technically there are things that are morally far worse, but anyway….

It all started because I had a doctor’s appointment at 9:00am, which is a reasonable time, unless you work 3rd shift and get off at 6 am and have to stay awake and wait for that appointment. I was tired and stressed when I got off work at the police department where I was a dispatcher. I tried to take a short nap, but to no avail. I made it to the appointment, more tired still, where I proceeded to wait in the waiting room for  two hours. TWO. HOURS. I did not complain or ask what the holdup was. I knew there was no point. You’ve all had to wait at the doctor’s before; you know how it is. I suffered in silence, becoming more and more exhausted.Finally, my turn came to see the doctor. He breezed in and looked at my chart for about two seconds and wrote me some prescriptions and left. I got out of there and went to the nearest pharmacy on the corner, not even wanting to go to my usual pharmacy. I remember it was a warm September day, the kind of day where you knew fall was coming, but it was still comfortable outside. I walked into the pharmacy and was blasted with cold air. The air conditioning in there was unreal. I wondered if I had wandered into a meat locker. There were others ahead of me so I sat down, crossed my arms to keep warm and put my head down. I stayed like this for a long time. I think I began to fall over, because I overheard one woman ask another if I  was passing out and if they needed to call an ambulance. I sat up then to let them know I was ok, but I was really feeling bad. I wanted to lie down on the floor. Finally, the pharmacist called me up and apologized for the wait and told me the problem. My doctor had prescribed me a medication that was contraindicated with one of the meds I was already taking. He had been on the phone an hour trying to get him to give him a substitute. AN HOUR. He said, “I’m so sorry,  honey, it might be quicker if you just go back over there and see if you can pick it up from the nurses’ station.”  I said thank you. I must have looked like a zombie. Flat affect, flat dead voice. I felt half frozen. I shuffled my way to the door, and went outside to my car. I don’t know if it was the sunlight or the heat that affected me more, but suddenly, I was wide awake. Wide awake and mad as hell. I got into my car and tore around the corner back to the doctor’s office. Thank God no one was in my way. I got out, slammed the door, marched into the office, slamming every door I came to, marching like going to war until I met the receptionist who, I noticed for the first time, was behind protective glass. Probably because of people like me, I thought. And laughed. I felt high. I felt invincible. Nobody was going to tell me no today! I walked up to her and told her I needed to see the doctor RIGHT NOW. She skittered away, apologizing profusely and came back with a nurse in about twenty seconds who led me straight to an exam room, the door of which I SLAMMED as she was saying “The doc will be right with you.” It slammed a lot louder than I expected. Really, really loud.I started to talk to myself in my head. OK. You are out of control here. You have got to stop. But I couldn’t stop. I was still trying to calm myself down  when the door eased open an inch or two and a hand appeared with a prescription, then finally a whole nurse looking nervous came in with it and handed it to me. One was for a drug for fibromyalgia, which I don’t have, which I threw back in her face with a look of disgust and said, “I’m not taking THAT”  and the other was the one I needed. I got up to go and asked if I would just sign for them at the nurses’ desk.  I said of course and I said “May I leave the doctor a note, since he is obviously too busy to see me?” My voice was pure sugar coated sarcasm. They all nodded. “Or maybe you all could just remind him that next time he writes someone a prescription he should maybe check and see what other drugs she’s taking so he doesn’t waste her time, make her sick, or GET HER KILLED!!!!” Then  I stormed out, slamming all doors behind me, and got the hell out of there before they called my own police officers to come and arrest me. I got home safely, took my meds, went to bed and slept like a baby. As far as I know, they didn’t do a police report.  No one ever talked to me about it at work, and after a few days, I breathed easier. But about two weeks later, I got a letter in the mail telling me that I was banned from all doctor’s offices within that group, which was practically every doctor in town. They didn’t say “banned”. They said something like they were “discontinuing services” or some such nonsense. But it meant banned. Because I called a doctor later that I wasn’t sure was part of the system, and his receptionist told me that  “Dr____ doesn’t feel that he can be of service to you now.” Alrighty then! So that’s basically how I got blackballed out of medical care in my hometown. I’m not sure how far it spreads. I assume the ER won’t turn me out, surely. But, I live elsewhere now, anyway, so, it’s all good. And now you all know, there’s another side to me, a side you want to avoid seeing if at all possible. There are many sides of me, actually.”More sides than Sybil!” Just kidding. I DO NOT have multiple personalities. If I did, I would make them write their own blogs. 🙂

Manic Tuesday: One week later.

What a difference a week makes. I just reread last week’s post and it’s like it was written by another person. I guess you could say I am back to “normal”, whatever “normal” is. I am definitely  not manic. I had about 2 days of high energy and then I just plateaued. I am not exactly depressed, though sad. (I found out yesterday a Facebook friend died. Even though I never met her in person, I would have liked to have and I am feeling the loss.) I kind of feel myself sinking back into my old rut of mild to moderate depression, the kind where I’m not suicidal, but I’m quiet and disinterested in everything and sort of lost in my own head.  I am not in the danger zone, but it’s not a good place to be. I expect I’m not a joy to be around, if you were to ask my husband or family and friends. Of course I’ll be avoiding all of them except my husband as much as possible, because that’s what I do. I withdraw. The fact that I am writing this is something new. I don’t know if I will continue. Just depends how low I get. I may  log off here and focus on other writing projects. A few days ago I forgot to take my bed time meds with dinner and I didn’t sleep all night and was sick and miserable. I didn’t figure it out until the next night, and I was angry with myself, because it was my own fault.  It depresses me that my wellness depends on a couple of handfuls of pills a day. I don’t know who I am without drugs. Every time I go off meds, I become suicidal. So I take my meds faithfully, because the hospital is not a place I want to be ever again. But I just forgot.  Stupid, stupid, stupid. Nothing for it. Just have to get back on the program and try to stick with it. I’ve never been very good at taking care of myself. I think that’s why God sent me Steve. Steve takes very good care of me. Steve notices when I don’t feel well. He makes sure I eat and drink even when I don’t feel like it. But even he can’t save me. I have to save myself. I have to make the choice every day to get out of bed (or not) and take my meds and try to live my life. He can’t do it for me. No one can. Some days I can’t. Currently, I’m getting out of bed around noon. I get up with him when he goes to work, but I go back to sleep “for a few minutes” and then it’s noon. A whole morning wasted. So I get up and eat and take meds and try to get things done and not think about going back to bed. Recently, I started taking Adderall for ADD. That’s what caused the manic episode. It felt great. I wish I could be slightly manic all the time. Laughing at everything until it hurts, full of energy, getting things done, mind sharp as a tack, thinking positive thoughts, not dwelling on gloom and doom. That would be ideal..That would be the real Me. That’s my goal, always, to be centered. Neither too high, nor too low. Lord, let me be.