Real Friends Look Like This…

It’s so fucking weird. It limits the number of people you can send to.

That sucks.
Oh, well.

What a great day I’ve had so far – my last in Maryland. Nothing but good things have been with me this time –

It took me all that it took to get here though.

So I leave with many mixed but feelings of abundance and the privilege of having experienced a true friend – as in someone who is there when you need them.

In the end.
That’s all that counts.

How the Republicans Look From My Balcony

I have never seen such an extreme example of Ideologues.

They have gone Rogue.  How do we know that?  Well even their fellow Republicans are saying, “Enough is enough.”  But they don’t care.  They have hijacked the American government.  One might even call them economic terrorists.

I’ve heard people talking about extremist groups but won’t come out and just say it:

These dudes are Delusional.  Period.

It’s interesting how it brings up the illness.  The symptoms come together.  The Republicans are in denial.  And not one them seems to know it!

Feeling Bad

Feeling bad chronically I would say is a sign of Depression.  But why do we feel bad?  And what do our early childhood experiences have to do with it? 

I remember being traumatized by a jealous grandmother who took things away from me and shipped them to her daughter in Greece, my Aunt Helen.  Imagine taking something away from an 8 year old that is beloved?  Essentially stealing it.  She was a stupid woman.  Petty, spiteful, stingy, a thief, —  Imagine the role model!

She was a cruel woman who liked to frighten me by putting a full sized blanket over her head and pretend she was the boogey man who terrified me.  The only character I can compare her to is the Wicked Witch in Frank Baum’s novel, The Wizard of Oz — only worse.

Now surely I must have had a sense of humor to survive such a woman.  Even as a child I could see how absurd she was, and in need of help.  But I always also remember how her husband, my grandfather, abandoned her after the daughter was born, and fled to America, where he stayed until he went back to get his wife, now an old woman.  I remember stories that sounded horrid to me — how she tied up her kids so she could work the fields for their food and shelter, for example — and my father defended her for her actions.  He had a lot of respect for his mother.  She was a single parent, after all, in 1921. There was no precedent. 

But I see I have veered way off course here.

Feeling bad.  That’s what we excel at — those who are affected by the Affective Disorders of the Brain — we are good at feeling bad.  Nobody can feel as bad as we do, we think.  And even though each story is different (one of the fascinating things about it) there are common characteristics that emerge, but no reliable pattern.

It’s not hard to make me feel bad.  I felt bad when my Modern Dance teacher told me I was looking “too much like a Ballerina.”  I should have said, “So?”  But instead I started to fret and worry about looking too much like a Ballerina, and wondered what I should do to change that, so I cut down on my Ballet classes, which was a mistake.

And yet, such a seemingly simple comment can have a radical affect on how we behave.

Coping

First of all I have to say I love Macs.  I know it’s a detour.  But they are wonderful machines.  I am sitting outside on a beautiful night in October, and my keyboard is lit up so perfectly, that I can type with ease.  You can be sure Apple will NOT be the same now that Steve Jobs is longer there.  He was Apple.

It’s a difficult exercise to try and explain how we feel.  I just know there are times when stress levels are high, and we have things we need to do, and we push to get those things done, then we crash into lethargy.  But I am really enjoying where I am right now.  Right now I am in a I just wanna feel good mood, and it’s wonderful.  I wish I had gotten there earlier.  But that’s what happens when you are a slow learner.  And that’s why I’m still stuck in Adolescence.  I haven’t been able to shed that experience, which revolved around my mother dying.

The ironic story, of course, is when my doctor couldn’t explain why I hadn’t conceived and according to the standards he followed, after a year, you were technically infertile.  Around that time I had a psychological intervention with a Residential psychiatrist, a woman, Peggy Loomis.  We meshed well and explored deep psychological problems — about how I felt about myself, as a woman.  And I discovered I had suppressed my burst into Adolescence because my mother was dying.  Once I could let go of that I started feeling feminine.  And within a couple of months, I was pregnant!  So never underestimate the power of psychology on our feelings and behavior — our perceptions of ourselves are often conflicted, mainly because our moods are so disruptive to what would ordinarily be a normal day.  I have been asking the same question for years:  What is normal?

I don’t know what this has to do with coping, but I guess what I wanted to say is what I just said.

One last thing.

It is very difficult to explain these diseases to people who have not been subjected to them.  And as much as we try, we haven’t really found a good way to describe them.  If you’ve noticed, I’ve always put “mental illness” in quotes.  That phrase reeks of stigma.  I can’t think of a worse way to describe it.  We really need to develop some language that de-stigmatizes these illnesses.

When Every Minute Feels Like A Mile

It’s really really really hard to explain to someone who hasn’t had the experience what a Depressive Episode is really like.  They try to explain them.  But they really don’t understand them.  I’m talking about those who have never had one.  But it does have some common characteristics, where despair, loss of self-esteem, hopelessness, and existential angst converge and form a massive Depressive episode, which may or may not end with a suicide attempt, depending on whether you’re Bipolar II (I’ve read they make the most attempts and are often successful).  What happens from that point on is whether anyone can predict how the episode will conclude.  And most likely.  They cannot.

Just had a fabulous conversation with a member from my DBSA Support group and we both agreed, people’s perception about Brain Disorders, especially those that are expressed through our emotions, are pretty fucked up.  It’s like people want to pretend we’re not there.  They keep shoving us back in the Closet.  Fuck that.

We have been willing guinea pigs for pharmaceutical companies from the start.  As soon as we start ingesting those chemicals we have no idea what affect they will actually have on our bodies.  And the pharmaceutical companies are not only using us for research purposes, they are making profits because of their products.  So it’s in their interest to keep those meds out there as long as possible, regardless of whether they do anything.  But the thing is, we are the one’s who have to come up with the dough to pay for those meds.  And some are simply just too expensive — even with Insurance.

I just want to make it clear.  I take meds.  And I comply.  I am a perfect girl scout when it comes to that.  But I have had so many reactions, not related to my symptoms, that I had to continually switch.  And nothing really worked.

At this point, I spend a month in Greece every summer and spend a lot of time in the afternoon sun.  That stores me up with the sun I’ll need to get through Autumn and maybe Winter.

And I take the least intrusive dose of Effexor XR.  And Trileptal, which for me is really important, since I have Bipolar II.  The stabilizing is very important in the treatment of my symptoms.  Antidepressants alone can bring disaster.  Like a really serious hypomania, which can last for months, during which you make life-changing decisions (not always good), and experience some brilliant moments, as well.

And finally.  Marijuana helps me sleep — a big problem for me, sleep — and has absolutely nothing but wonderful side-effects.

That’s it.

Oh, yes.  Insurance Companies.  One of my favorite topics.  Our health choices are controlled now not by doctors but the insurance companies who force our doctors to adjust our medications because of pressure from them.  What business do Insurance companies have acting as the arbiters of our health decisions?  Who gave them that right?  Is that what you call Capitalism?  Fuck that, too.

When Every Minute Feels Like A Mile …

You have a lot of time to think.