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????????????????These earrings personify the bipolar experience for me. When I am manic, I am like the skeletor face and when I am depressed I am the personification of the drooping mask…even though we are required to wear masks in our day-to-day life I don’t know about you, but it is nearly impossible for me to wear a happy face in all arenas.

For the longest time I was reluctant to wear these earrings because I thought they were too weird and Aztec pagan, but recently I realized they are the perfect expression of my personality. Someone from outside could look at these and think they are weird or cool. But no one but myself will know what they truly signify. And I don’t know about you but sadly being bipolar is part of my identity.

I think, from DBT class and a lot of other blogs, that bipolar shouldn’t define a person. You can use your social and behavioral skills to mask it and not rock the boat for anyone else. But, right or wrong, being bipolar is part of who I am. I cannot escape from this, no matter how acceptably I behave; no matter what positive philosophy I adopt.

And I truly do believe that these positive philosophies are the way to go. Bipolar DOES NOT own you. But for my part, though it doesn’t own me, it is still a part of who I am and I do get sick of all the “positivity” and “cheerleading”. Does that make me a person who gives up? I don’t think so. Being aware is OK. It keeps a person ready to think a moment before reacting to something.

Because you are aware. Awareness isn’t a failing. Acknowledgement is not a failing. Acknowledgement is important and really the best way to help yourself.

Acknowledgement is not the same thing as characterizing oneself. I have been guilty of this. Acknowledgement does not give the disorder its power. Its power comes from characterizing yourself.

You are more than your bipolar disorder. But acknowledging it, even gaining personal power from the knowledge and experience, are good things, in my opinion as a person who has struggled with self-hatred and inferiority from this disease.

So I do like my earrings. They don’t mean the same thing to everyone.

Nothing does.

There is power in personal symbols.

 

"I am angry enough to die." - Jonah 4:9

“I am angry enough to die.” – Jonah 4:9

I am like a bucking horse – I mean, a horse that bucks. Almost every horse bucks, eventually, during his or her life. Some are forgiven; some are not. I’m like one of our rescue horses, given to instantaneous bucking fits, no warning, just instant bronc mode. Sometimes though, I give warning, crow-hops, but in general, these warnings are ignored.

I figure I must live in a state of forgiveness for my bucking, or I would be shot or abandoned by now. Committed to an asylum or sent to the sale barn. Yet it doesn’t feel like I’m being forgiven. It feels like I am kicked and beaten every time I’m down. That I’m still here argues for forgiveness. These repeated beatings argue for unforgiveness.

Things begin to happen, but like my stories, they go nowhere. I need to be sent to a sale barn. A sale barn for useless, problem wives, to be auctioned off, packed into a truck, and taken away on a journey that will end in slaughter. Humane or inhumane matters not, since being stuck in this life is in itself inhumane.

Today, I hate being bipolar. Today, it seems bipolar is me, so I must hate myself and my life. I have tried and tried not to let bipolar get me down, but it’s apparently hopeless. Apparently, I am supposed to be grateful for my disease because it is teaching me so much about life – that would be useful to me if I didn’t have the disease, but as it is, such knowledge is useless!

Suicidal ideation was happening! I was so mad at hubby and frustrated with my earlier behavior that I wanted to pop a bullet into my brain, the very horror I had believed would never manifest again.

I would have gone past considering it, I think, if the family wouldn’t lose everything without my disability check. Or, if I didn’t owe them all better for having lived with and tolerated me and my disease for so long already. Or, if I didn’t owe God for dying for my sins. Or, if I didn’t care about ruining my children’s lives.

I cannot believe God tolerated Jonah’s anger and simply explained to him why it was unjustified. But he did. For that, God only deserves gratitude on the part of Jonah and of me.

 

 

It turns out that yes, indeed, I am manic, very much so, and have been for a while now.  Mania is not always a good thing, even though many of us are medicated to the point that it seems we are kept below the threshold of “normal” in terms of happiness and productivity. Thus we long for the mania to return, or even hypomania, for which I have wished repeatedly during my prolonged depressive periods.

My mania lately has taken a freaky form: Anxiety, right-brained reactivity and destructive impulsivity that has now resulted in me truly hurting someone and forever burning a bridge that was important to many people. I am filled with remorse, and many things, particularly horses, will be no longer enjoyed without that prick of sorrow and guilt that I have set myself up for with my actions taken in the throes of mania.

I have medicated myself rather heavily in order to accept the constant yelling I am getting from my hubby and myself right now. Everything I say is responded to by hubby as “you aren’t hearing a word I am saying,” and “it’s like talking to a rock!” and “Stop it” You are being ridiculous.” Ridiculous, ridiculous, ridiculous are all my concerns as I watch him doing what I believe to be further damage over the phone, and insisting that I abdicate what I feel is important responsibility without offering a different solution to take the place of my abdication. I wish he would stop it but there is nothing I can say that isn’t “ridiculous.” I also know he is trying to do helpful things that will lead to the solution of our current problems more productively than the things I did, in the hopes of keeping me out of the hospital again. God bless him!

So, thanks to my understanding doctor who has prescribed me some extra medication (extra risperidone and clonazepam) to help me react without anger or bitterness or dangerous breakdowns to these triggers, I am able to use the extra medicine she prescribed to enable me to control myself, namely, my tongue for the most part. I have little doubt that when the crisis is passed, I will be able to return to my normal tiny dosages, as I don’t like taking the refuge of extra medication. I would prefer to handle my crises with mindfulness, wise mind, essential oils, prayer and so forth. But now I need to feel as little emotion as possible or the anxiety would get out of control. Of course, it can also be argued that in this circumstance, anxiety and fear and crippling remorse are warranted and normal, too.

I am reminded of the words of Jesus, and I pray every day that he will help me guard my tongue. He said if a part of the body offends, then cut it off. Not sure if he was being literal or speaking in a parable. Sometimes I wish I could cut out my tongue. I feel it has caused me to do damage beyond forgiveness. I will never receive the forgiveness of the person I have hurt, but I know my heavenly Father will forgive me.

To be Christian about this for a moment: “I [God] live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. I will not accuse forever, nor will I always be angry, for then the spirit of man would grow faint before me–the breath of man that I have created.” – Isaiah 57: 15-16

There is some spiritual help for me and for others who have done horrible things through the erroneous impulses that accompany mania. Deeds done while in the manic state should never be written off just to being manic. We should take responsibility for what we have done, for we have done these things.

There may have been one way in which my destructive impulses have worked out for good and that is what my husband reminds me of when he is being compassionate toward me, and it comforts me but only a little. How I wish for the good mania, the type that doesn’t result in craziness.

Yet I know too, that this will pass, just as I know my normal, functional times will pass, and that my depressive periods will pass. Everything passes and turns into something else with bipolar. You can count on not staying a certain way forever; there will always be a change, and sometimes for the better. Take encouragement from that. Remember to take a breath, mindfully, seeking wise mind to operate from. Hopefully wise mind will become a habit. It has not happened for me during my manic freakouts, but that does not mean I will not be able to achieve this with the help of the good Lord. Many others have succeeded at this and I know that I can too.

 

 

I have an exciting victory to share–so far as my bipolar goes.  What could easily have been an epic breakdown and precipitated unfixable problems was forestalled by a hard-won exercise of mastery and self-control.

A client of my husband’s came to our home and unfairly verbally abused him, refusing to pay what he’d agreed to despite the hard work and excellent results, leaving my husband shaken and distraught. Depressed already, I was very worried about him (and still am)–besides that money was going to pay two medical bills and car registrations. Now it’s not.

I freaked out, over-reacting with an avalanche of histrionics (letting out what my stoic husband couldn’t, no doubt, express). Overwhelmed by anger, fear, despair, righteous indignation, worry, I could scarcely refrain from running from the phone to call them and speak angry words that could never be taken back. Repeatedly I asked hubby to take the phone and put it in his pocket so I could not. I was sure I was out of control. BUT…

I remembered things that until recently I could not have remembered. I don’t know why, except maybe for my faith…and the example of others.

I counted to ten repeatedly. I recalled scripture after scripture, admonishing me to curb my tongue and not speak in anger. I knew it would only make things immeasurably worse if I did so.

So I vented by writing my feelings down on yellow legal pad, for no one to see. My husband and I drove to town and took some other useful actions to diffuse our tension.

We are still very upset…I am still very upset, and I hope to deal with these feelings further using skills, and eventually achieve closure in the safety of post-crisis reflection.

So…yay! In a blog that is often so depressing, I finally have something happy to report (even if I don’t feel that way I am grateful)!!!!!

All of your positive blogs and uplifting thoughts read late at night have surely contributed to my ability to look at my situation differently and I thank you. It is true that together we can all overcome. ❤ 🙂

 

Reasons why Bipolar is difficult to diagnose:

It has different components, which manifest at different times, so often the doctor has only what s/he sees at a given time to go on, eg:

– has similarities to other illnesses such as major depressive

– when presents as psychotic, any disorder which includes psychosis

– may present as a normal, well person, etc.

This can also apply to someone who is seeing a psychologist for crisis evaluation or a psychiatrist for emergency med management, you can seem normal then too. How? Read on if you wish. (Be warned, it’s another of my personal horror stories, very recent)…

All few of you who read this blog know I’ve been struggling for some time now with a great depressive epoch, and have recently found that some of the symptoms of my “depression” are actually more symptoms of mania. . .. therefore I’m rapid cycling like the wheels of a bicycle racer near the finish line. (please forgive the obvious metaphor, I’m not too creative at the moment, heh).

My life is unpredictable, my family never knows what will happen next. I don’t either. I know something is wrong with my meds, yet I’m reluctant to have them adjusted, especially by a doctor who no longer is familiar with my case, because of the release I’ve experienced on my current meds from cognitive dysfunction, and having regained a lot of my lost memory on the current regimen.

Yet, I sensed a crisis impending so my husband, who also sensed it, did what we both had sworn we’d never do. . . call that place for crisis help again. In this oddly rare instance, a “crisis counselor” was not available, though we’d expressed our reluctant understanding of the need to jump through that deplorable hoop before seeing a psychiatrist. It turned out that we were referred to the main crisis guy, over the phone, who mysteriously was able to produce an opening in the psychiatrist’s schedule on the spot!

Wonderful, we thought. So we saw her, and she, after only a few minutes, pronounced me normal and doing well and no adjustment of my meds was needed and she would see me again in 6 months. No opportunity to dispute that was apparent. Period. Then (unbeknownst to us) she canceled my previously scheduled appointment with my regular psychiatrist, which had been coming up fairly soon. A week later, I had the crisis my husband and I had feared.

Something triggered my destructive half, and I knew I was losing it fast. I felt rage and frustration and knew I was going out of control. So I went to an area where someone had stacked T-posts without consulting me and where I did not want them, and began heaving them out of there. What I was doing appeared like random destruction, to observers, but I had every intention of re-stacking them in a more appropriate place when I was done heaving them out of the stupid place. The kind of thing I had been counseled to do, take out my feelings in a safe way without hurting myself or exposing my family to my “episode”.

The observers (hubby and daughter) did not know what I was doing or why, and so hubby attempted to interfere with my work. Well, he successfully interfered with it, and there I went, set off. An argument ensued, which quickly escalated into something beyond my control and I began to self-harm in my usual way when out of control, which is to start bashing my head into things.

I was being yelled at to “just stop it! Please stop!”

What my interferer didn’t know was just how hard I WAS trying to stop it. I was bashing my head into the horizontal 2x4s of the horse stall wall instead of the 8×8 cemented support post that I FELT COMPELLED to bash my head into. For example. Also, how when I was smashing the bowl in the kitchen, my body/brain was screaming at me to smash WINDOWS. And other things, which I was given to understand made me a bad person who was acting out on purpose. It ended up hours later with me lying on the thin, softening ice of our stock pond trying to “cool off” but preferably go to sleep there and actually perish of hypothermia.

Unfortunately, my crying kids found me there and begged me to get off the ice. I was heartbroken, for them, but could not move. Then my husband showed up and was a little more belittling than I felt he need be. I felt, soon after I had been gotten into the house, that I was being treated the way Therapist K had treated me all those months ago, calling the police to the mental-health facility, like I was a sub-human animal who was acting out on purpose.

The horror of the whole thing for me was that I had all these self-harm/suicide prevention strategies hard-wired (I thought) into my brain. And yet they were not sufficient.

All this about a week after the psychiatrist had pronounced me normal and in no need of a medication adjustment. Boy were we glad I had another appointment already scheduled with my usual psychiatrist  (who was to be leaving the institution soon).

The next day, of sound mind, it occurred to me that I’d better check that. Make a call to confirm that appointment, since I already knew the system was broken, the front desk people were overworked, and the policies were often stupid and usually detrimental to the mental health patient.

So I called to confirm the appointment and surprise, surprise, there was no appointment. My recently-visited psychiatrist had cancelled all other appointments in favor of the one six months away. I was a bit disappointed about that, considering what had happened last night, and insisted the appointment be rescheduled since I had been suicidal. Oh, no, that appointment was already filled, did I want to be put on a cancellation list?

I explained how important it was that I see a psychiatrist immediately, so I got an appointment for three weeks hence. And I was told I am on the cancellation list, although I’m pretty sure that if I were, I’d have gotten in by now.

My husband has tried very hard to get through to them. Not even my new therapist, who had replaced Therapist K on my case because she was of a more appropriate age and qualification, had anything at all helpful to offer him. So he went to the head crisis  guy, who found him to be in crisis himself! My poor husband, doing all he can with what he has, and has been doing so for 19 years! What greater love can there be from a mortal than that I am blessed with from him???? ❤ ❤ ❤

So, there’s an example of how bipolar can present in ways that result in incorrect diagnoses with potentially disastrous results. In my case, I had the diagnosis, but my status was incorrectly evaluated, or rather, not evaluated at all, because of how I seemed when I walked into the consultation room. So a patient, with or without a diagnosis, should be very sure to make certain the doctor hears the whole enchilada and doesn’t have to go only by what he/she sees in the consulting room.

Sorry to write another pissed off post.

A prisoner againI am very upset by today’s sermon. This was my SECOND time back to church in-at least-over a year, –after months of being immersed in scripture and praise– and now I have almost no inclination to return. I feel that the pastor said he condemns (or strongly implied that God condemns)  people who lack self-control (are “out of control”) because they are crazy-makers. No argument there, but it was also directly stated that “people with no self-control are trying to defy God’s relational law of physics.” (read: purposly, frowardly spitting in God’s face).

So, because at times I lack more self-control than others, being bipolar, I am therefore worse than others. There was no tolerance expressed for people like me who cannot control themselves. At so many times. What am I to do, be grateful to God that I have to work 3x as hard as other Christians to do so?

Romans 3:13 was used “Let us behave decently as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.” That was the scriptural basis for “OUT OF CONTROL: OUT OF BALANCE BECAUSE OF CONTROL ISSUES.” This was not a sermon to help people such as this. It was a sermon for how people can protect themselves from someone like this. I am not saying such a sermon is not important, or has no application, but I am saying that a sermon that blindsides people with problems and blames them for other Christians’ troubles is unacceptable to ME. A major example that was given was the difficulty of dealing with alcoholics, who just “CHOOSE not to deal with it” or are “in denial.”: Giving no quarter to anyone with an ADDICTIVE DISORDER. By extension, us who live with bipolar illness must only be exhibiting our symptoms because we just CHOOSE not to repress them and intend to use them to control others and/or are in denial. What about everyone else with mental/emotional challenges? Where is the compassion? Nowhere to be found here.

This is bullshit and may have just nipped my joyous returning to church in the bud.

There was also a lot of talk about setting up boundaries against people like me, even though no one seems to have the least iota of respect for MY boundaries. Galatians 6:25: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ…each one should carry their own load.” I have been told more than once that this disease is my load to carry, not a serious burden that needs to be helped and shared by others. If this is true, well I suck at carrying my own load and should be “loved without rescue.”

Proverbs 19:9: “A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty; rescue them, and you will have to do it again.” Well all I can say to that is extreme thanks and appreciation of those wonderful people who have rescued me in the past and will do so again, because I need rescuing; I have not chosen for God to give me this disease; I am not in denial about it; and I am doing my level best to recover and not be a burden to others. So thank you for your superpowers of rescue, good loved ones, but by all means change your behavior now because this sermon has shown you that I am just a piece of crap who needs not to be helped but to be reprimanded: Matt. 18:15 ‘ir your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault.” Otherwise, you will have to rescue me again and will be an enabler of my sociopathic behavior. Yes, please confront me and point out my faults, because I don’t know that I’m a sinner and I could give a crap that I hurt you. I just sin wantonly.

That I pray for forgiveness to God, and pray forgiveness of others, apologizing to them, confessing my sin, every time it occurs, is irrelevant, for now I find that I’m actually commiting these sins of bipolar illness on purpose, for I am a crazy-maker.

I do not want to go back and listen to this pastor’s crap anymore. this is the first time I have EVER responded to a sermon that “convicted me” without being pissed off. I did not choose this. I do not use my symptoms to control others. Every time I hurt someone inadvertently I apologize. I do EVERYTHING I can not to hurt those around me to the extent that I am able. And then at church to be treated in the sermon as one to be Boundaried against because I am a bad person is just too effing much.

So- I sin now with my bitterness, my tongue, my lack of self-control, and in coming to bed so I can “govern my tongue” against saying angry words makes me also guilty of the sin of sloth and not being a good woman who “worketh willingly with her hands” (Prov. 31:13) and “girdeth her loins with strength and strengthenist her arms.” (Prov. 31: 17)

Plus, I haven’t yet found a Word condemning this yet (but I know it’s out there), yet I have taken 2 whole clonazepam tablets, knowing full well they will NOT help me with my depression or anger, but after the desire to be knocked out so I will not be governed by my bitter tongue and cause further grief to my loved ones thereby, as I do so very often.

Now I thank God for revealing this stuff and clearing my head through his Word. I should be convicted in a constructive healing way by the sermon but I am just pissed off. I have begun, after weeks of being immersed in scripture, to harden my heart again.

Prov. 28:14 “Happy is the man thart feareth alway; but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.” Yay.

That being said, I do not blame God, am not mad at God, and continue to immerse myself in his Word, both to become a better person in Him and to live gracefully with my bipolar disorder. But I’m back to “screw church” sorry.

The psychiatrist leaned forward as she asked, her legs crossed, her expression giving me the impression of one who is in the process of chain-smoking while awaiting a subway train.

I’m sorry, what? My “mooooood,” (for that was how she said it)? I did not know what to answer. It meant about as much to me as “how’s your penis?” or, “whatcha know?” or, “how’s the moon?” Looking back, I guess I’d say my mooood, at the moment, was hirrrritated. That question could only come from someone who had no idea what she was asking.

I was on Effexor at the time. Then and since, I’ve had a problem with the word, mood. I think of a mood as a passing thing, coming and going like clouds over the sun or waves on the ocean; that is, everyone’s sun, everyone’s ocean. Not mine.

What is mood? A current attitude toward the world? A snarky comment curling about your brain? A jumping and laughing, a reaching for the sky while others look on, dumbfounded? A dull fuzz that covers everything? An irresistible desire to dispense hugs like toilet paper?  The moment of “ouch” after stepping on a rock because your shoe has fallen off, only, for a protracted period of time? Vertigo?

While I was cogitating on this, the psychiatrist wagged and tapped her feet.

“Uhh…” I said, stricken stupid. I had no answer for her, and perhaps it was then that I first recognized some deterioration in my cognitive function. Without recognizing it, of course.

Bipolar is identified as a mood disorder. Maybe I’d be happier if it were defined differently. Maybe it should be defined instead as an emotional disorder. Maybe I think I’m special. Maybe I’d have been happier if she had asked, “How extreme would you describe your epic fluctuations of emotional storm over the past month?”

 

electricity

electricity

How’s my mood? Yes, fluctuating. Of course it is. I’m bipolar. And I was unhappy with my psychiatrist at the time, whom to see I had to drive an hour. I’m sure I eventually began rambling on about some trouble or other in my life, just to fill the void, if not answer the question. I was irritated because her question was not specific enough.

Call me picky, but “mood disorder” doesn’t sound like a debilitating thing when the term is looked at objectively. It just seems trivial. Being bored when I should be excited. Being sad when I should be sympathetic. Being happy when I should be glum. Whatever it is, I’m doing it wrong. And I am trivial because of my inappropriate mood. And that’s exactly (one of) the sort of trap(s) that lead to self-esteem so low that, well, something or other is triggered, at least in me.

I think the emotional rollercoaster of bipolar deserves a better definition than mood disorder. Why? I don’t know. I am a semantics quibbler, been one all my life.  What a fun person, huh. Maybe “emotional disaster disorder”…no, that’s more of a label, not a definition. I thought by writing about it I would understand the word “mood” and why it serves as a topic of conversation with an expensive psychiatrist who has me on the wrong meds to begin with. I certainly seem to lack the faculties to come up with a new definition of bipolar illness here. Maybe that’s not my job, because I’m too self-involved.

But it’s that “everything is my fault” mentality that almost always used to stuff me into that funnel that squeezed out a crawling-in-the-slime creature. I know that soon after that session I either attempted, or made an unworthy bid toward, you-know-what. I don’t even remember when that was or what the issues were. I just remember that the psychiatrist was on the clock, and didn’t want to know how I was doing, she wanted to know “How’s your mood?” simply to see if she needed to adjust the meds on one particular bipolar guinea pig.

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