Tuesday, March 31, 2009

MY BROTHER-IN-LAW

I wrote this entry but wanted to get permission from my brother-in-law before I made it public information. He not only gave me permission but also a link to his original book, I was very glad he did. I will explain why at the end of this post.

MY BROTHER-IN-LAW

When I got back from Florida my brother-in-law made an effort to talk to me. He even put himself out there by sharing some of his personal and seemingly embarrassing stories about his break down. I was entertained by his stories and appreciated his effort but I think I also made it painfully clear that “I was not like him.” I was not especially open to thinking that I may have been “mentally ill,” or potentially more so. My story was nothing like his. Though I knew that my little incident with the police officer was a God-send I also knew that the police officer really had over-reacted. I just had a touch of depression that I would get over and no longer never need medication for ever again, and that was that end of story.
Years later, years after I had successfully been weaned off of anti-depressants and ignorantly started to mentally turn south (so to speak), I read his story. It was then that I realized I really was more like him then I’d thought. I had, fortunately, just not progressed to as extreme a point. However, I could easily look at myself and realize that there were far too many times where I was on “the verge.” My mind seemed to work an awful lot like his and I could easily see myself in his shoes if a few of my scenario’s had been just a touch different or farther from home, culturally and physically. I felt extremely guilty for having been so judgmental and ignorant so many years ago, for what I was now certain would have contributed to a sense of isolation that I was sure he must have felt over the years.
I have come to realize not only how right my brother-in-law was, but also how brave and admirable he was for being willing to talk about it, exposing his own personal “flaw” for my sake. I have come to admire him tremendously for his effort to do the best HE can despite his illness. I have come to realize that there is not much of a line that separates the “insane” from the “sane.” In fact in one sense, it is very possible that a mentally ill person who accepts it, deals with it, and makes the appropriate effort to live a mentally responsible life is likely much more sane then the multitude of masses who think they are above it, who think that they don’t relate, or who live oblivious and ignorantly in their superficial realities.
I am hyper-sensitive to many things, it has the ability to drive me nuts, but by acknowledging my intensities and sensitivities I can live responsibly and very well. Are you the same?

So that is the end and now I will explain about my bro-in-laws book that you can obtain a copy of through this link: http://www.bearcanyonpress.com/ .
The book that I referred to was the original unpublished version of "Enduring Well" (I was actually unaware of the "Into My Manic Mind" but I am excited to read it). I am not sure if some of what was his original version is in the "Enduring Well" or "My Manic Mind" so honestly I'd say get both. The thing is when I read his book it gave me new awareness of how close I had potentially come to "insanity" and some common early signs of danger. The descriptions of the break downs, that the publisher said were to "graphic" or a bit too much for the average reader, were exactly what I needed to help me be more aware of my own mental state. Ironically, in reference to the book that the Publisher published to be a self-help book , I have heard people say that it was a bit much for them and they had a hard time reading it because he was so much more extreme then they were. I realized instantly that it was because the publisher left out the background story and early symptoms, much of the detail that the publisher was afraid would be too much.
I remember Andy decided to self publish the original book because he felt it had a place and that his story could potentially help people. I would like to again say thank you to Andy because his willingness to share his "crazy life" has helped me from unknowingly getting too close to that breaking point myself.
And with that I wish you well and I hope that you enjoy the mental world that so many are more a part of then they realize.

Monday, March 30, 2009

An Ornery Day (and a tired writen entry)

So today was a rather ornery day, I have to admit. I was short with my kids, a bit tired and cranky. I fell back into those nasty old habits of a short temper and a bit of immaturity. I have two things to share about that.
The easiest one to explain is that though today I was not the person I wish to be, I have at least been able to get through it easily as just an ornery day and not the end of the world. I somehow have been able to forgive myself and look forward to a good nights sleep and another day. I didn't even cry about it. That may sound really stupid but it's something that typically happens when I have an ornery day. That and my mind somehow turns me into the most pathetic pile of pooh on the face of this planet that really ought to be disposed of. The "dark" was kept at bay.

The second thing today made me want to mention was a recent meeting with my counselor. I was needing his very patient and positive reassurance and reminders of all the things that we have worked on because first I felt a bit worried that in my new (well, new again) state I might be tempted to leave some loved ones behind, so-to-say. As well I had realized that though my "chemistry" had changed some of my bad habits that I think I assumed would disappear had not. That was interesting to me but not terribly discouraging, actually not at all, rather maybe a bit more encouraging because it makes it a bit easier to accept that it is a very physical thing. Anyway (can you tell that I am tired), my counselor gave me a very simple but very profound and excellent analogy. He said when a caterpillar goes through changes in the pupa phase it comes out as a butterfly, but when he first emerges from his cocoon he's going to notice that he no longer has a hundred legs and that is a very real loss. When he tries to get around it will be very different, he may still feel like a caterpillar. He can't even eat the same way or same things anymore. Though he has wings he's never had those before. In fact, previously he had been quite fat and low to the ground. He's going to have to learn how to use his new body, he's going to have to learn how to be a butterfly and he still might have caterpillar days. My counselor did a much better job, I'm sure but I hope you get the point.
I have to learn how to be a butterfly and now that I actually have the wings to be a butterfly I might be able to get off the ground this time. That is how I feel this time around. Last time I took medication it worked wonders but I still had some thinking/cognitive habits that needed to be corrected. That time around I was not real open to that. This time around I have the combination of medication and a better trained mind so I feel encouraged that the results will be very good. I am so very excited about life and the things that I can do. And it is beautiful because it's not an over the top kind of excitement that cannot possibly be maintained.
So I guess I am saying in a very tired, weird and scattered kind of way that it's been a good ornery day!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Day With Music

I think it is good to write about "the way I am" while I am freshly starting to experience "the change" with medication, it is easy to quickly forget how dramatically different it was because changes are not always that quick or visible.
Today I am listening to music. I don't usually like "background" noise because it is hard for me to separate myself from it. It is not that I don't enjoy it, it may rather be the other way around, I enjoy it too much.

You know how it is when you hear a song that really moves you. When I hear a song that I like or enjoy I feel very connected to that song, it is hard to separate my emotional or physical reaction to the song from the song and everyone who might be affiliated with it. In this way I can see how people become obsessed with celebrities, rock stars, artists, etc. It feels so personal so directed at you it is hard to believe that there is not a very real personal, spiritual, psychic or supernatural connection to that specific person. In fact it is that very natural reaction that feeds there success but for me it can be a bit too intense.
So today it is nice to listen to and enjoy some very good and pleasant music without being tempted to believe that this person must know and love me the way that I know and love their music. Thank you Pandora Radio. And thank you prescription medications.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My simple definition of mental illness

So over the years I've noticed that it is hard for people to figure out what mental illness really is, what it means and what it looks like (and when I say people I mean mostly myself). The lack of education leaves many people living locked up in fear or allowed to behave in less then acceptable ways. We have become a society where deviance is acceptable as part of our character. We have become a society that feeds mental illness. There are many roots to this problem. And on an individual level we have an easier time accepting that we are a "bad" person or that "this is who I am even though I don't know if I like it," then we do accepting that we might be "mentally ill."
I think that mental illness looks very different then people realize. It is possible that it is communicable. It is possible that there are varying degrees that can be treated quiet effectively with various different methods. It is possible that they may be prevented. It is possible that not all can be prevented but most can be managed. It is possible that mild problems can turn into something much worse if not properly cared for. In fact depression has been called the common cold of mental illness, it is my opinion that maybe we should consider it more like a common cold then we currently do. A cold effects every one at some time in their life. Most get over it with little added effort but it usually requires some effort, like extra vitamin's, extra water, extra sleep etc. Sometimes a cold turns into something worse but, generally speaking, we usually don't condemn that person. A cold is easily spread and we are more likely to catch it if we already have a weakened immune system. A cold can often be avoided but not always and not always easily. There are worse things then a cold even if it does move down into our lungs. I think it might be worthwhile to consider depression like this.

I'd also like to explain what I feel mental illness looks like. We all have experienced different chemical reactions within our own bodies. Some are easier to recognize then others. Some are more noticeable and easily recognizable while others are so regular and natural that we don't even notice them. I'll give some examples: The way our body uses and digests food, we don't really notice when we eat regularly the chemistry that is going on all the time but when we miss a few to many meals we sure can feel it. When we are "aroused" we can definitely feel something change in our bodies. If you have ever been excited, like a kid on Christmas, you can feel the endorphins or adrenaline or whatever it is. If you have ever run a race and you get to the final stretch, even though you feel like you have given it your all, when you see the finish line those endorphins kick in and you somehow can run faster, even sprint. When you are nervous or suddenly surprised. These are all chemical reaction that you can feel. They are very normal and useful, however it is also a very delicate balance and can easily be knocked out of whack. Imagination can change them, external stimuli can change them, things we eat can change them, just about everything can change them. Mental illness is when they are too extreme for the circumstance (too much chemicals'), when our body has a hard time maintaining that delicate balance, or when our imagination becomes a bit too powerful and takes over the body.
I believe in the mind, body, spirit connection in that they are, in essence, three separate things trying to co-exist in harmony. They will always have an effect on each other, like it or not. The important thing, though is not to think it is some horrible flaw of ours if they are not perfectly balanced. It is also important to put out the fire before we try to figure out what caused it. Even if we do know what caused the fire we still need to put it out unless we want to loose everything.
In my metaphoric opinion the biggest problem we have with mental illness today is all the children running around with matches and loaded weapons when, first off they have not been taught what they are let alone proper fire and gun safety, and second their little bodies are not big enough or strong enough to hold the ski's in a snowplow so-to-speak. I'll expand on the latter; though it may be fun to take them skiing, though they may enjoy it and though introducing them early may lead them to be an Olympic skier, we can't expect them to hold a snow plow when their leg muscles have not developed to that point. And surely we wouldn't leave them to figure it out on there own. So it is with mental health.
... and that is all I have to say about that.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I'd rather Say It and be Wrong then Not Say It and be Right

Often e-mails I write turn into something entirely different then intended, that is just how I work. Today I want to share some bits of one that did just that.

"I find that I do great with just about everything, then don't maintain it and find myself at the bottom where I will start doing EVERYTHING at the same time again to get me up, which it does, but once again I can't maintain it and I come sliding back down (if not crashing). I believe that this is probably a pretty normal cycle but it is just a bit too extreme for me and good or bad my mind turns to death as the answer to everything even though I think it is a totally lame answer and I really don't want to die. It is weird and hard to explain, I don't particularly care for it.
I have to admit, when medication starts working it is hard not to think that everyone could use it. I think that is me still holding on to a bit of pride and not wanting to be "different" as well as being genuinely concerned that some one else may be suffering needlessly.
I have mostly decided that one of my philosophy's is: I don't want to assume that I know how another person will take/use/need what I have to say, but if I know it is important I'll put it out there and let them be the judge for themselves. I'd rather say it and be wrong then not say it and be right."

Which brings me to a point I'd like to make, one that in all the books I've skimmed and read, in all the meetings I've had with various counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, or what have you, I don't recall ever being warned of or educated on. It is something I have had to figure out on my own from both my own experience and the experiences of others. Yet it is a bit of information that I think could be profoundly helpful in preventing a whole lot of difficult and dreadful occurrence's. It is this: Beware of the ups.
The ups can be more dangerous and frightening if there is a chemical imbalance but until you have been through a few yourself or you have seen a few that are close to you, you really don't know what to watch out for or even to watch out at all. If you find yourself cycling or rapid cycling, then beware of the ups, an overly inflated ego or sense of self, and/or euphoric type feelings. It is hard to think that there might be problem when you are in an up but ups take many forms and since we are often feeling so good in an up it is all to often too late before we realize that things aren't quiet as they seem. Ups can also be impatience and a short fuse. Ups can even be narcissistic (I can do no wrong). Ups can give you the energy you need to fulfil desires for some of those not-so-good obsessions.
Ups can be good but up or down or anywhere in between, we need a core set of value's, a sense of right and wrong that we can cling to even when that is not who we are at the moment. When we feel that we are not who or what we know we should be and/or genuinely want to be, we don't change our value's we seek help. That is the mentally responsible thing to do.
Though I don't entirely know what was going on with my brother it is apparent that he died in an up cycle.
So if I've burst a bubble or two I am sorry, don't mistake what I am saying for "you can't be happy," but rather learn recognize chemically induced ups. Then you will be able to find a happy that is genuine and lasting (and for some of us, quite refreshing- even if we may find ourselves asking if this might get a little boring ;)).

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Noticing Change

So I remember when I first got put on anti-depressants (as they are most commonly called though I dare say they treat far more then what is typically thought of as depression) and how new and novel some of the changes I went through were. It's seems that my new medication is working efficiently and I'm starting to recognize some of the newness of "normalcy" and an extended levelness. My husband worries that it won't last. I'm not worried though, because though looking at things from the outside things don't seem to be much different I can tell you that on the inside things are dramatically different. Yes, before I seemed to experience plenty of good days and level times but I have to admit that those periods were very short lived and still mixed at least daily with some sort of extreme or overly intense emotion. Where that is not always a bad thing it is helpful to realize that it is not only exhausting but also not possible to live with a kids-on-Christmas-morning type of emotional level/intensity/reaction every day. But currently I've noticed that things that typically would send me into and emotional or psychological extreme have not. They are just normal everyday experiences and that is refreshing.
I will give a few examples of this.
Last night we watched a movie with the kids and the introduction had a known visual and musical prelude that can evoke a powerful emotional response that we often associate with the magic and excitement of youth, possibilities and imagination. This is what the music is intended to do however for me as an adult it is bit silly (and bit much) that it would inevitably cause a reaction so intense that it would bring me to tears and usually cause me to cross over into the "fairytale" part of my mind, once again believing with all intent and purpose that all things are possible if only we believe, that my kids will behave perfectly if I only smile and sing, keeping my chin up like a fairytale princess only to be frustrated and angered when it didn't happen that way. My patience snapping instantly and harshly as things did not magically conform to my desires. Then of course to be followed by the eminent disappointment with the harsh "realities" of life. Despite having been through this scenario many-a-time in my life, such a prelude or movie or whatever still would evoke such a reaction from me. But last night I noticed the absence of such an extreme emotional response. For a moment I wondered if I missed the "magic" but I didn't. It was still a powerful piece of music that reminded me of the magic of youth and I enjoyed it but it was not SOOO impacting.

- just now as I am here intently writing with a mode that is flowing and concentrated my daughter starts repeatedly calling me from her room. Normally, in such a mode, I would snap angrily and be incredibly annoyed by the interruption to my thoughts and effort. This time I was still a bit annoyed but I was able to just say "what," and effectively detract my attention to her just enough to answer her request.

I have made contact with old friends-it has been exciting even exhilarating - but I am not completely obsessed with them. I went to a party with my husbands extended family and I felt fine the whole time even when I did feel a little out of place. After we left my mind had enjoyed the night and that was that, I didn't have to rehash everything in my brain and make sure I said everything just so I didn't feel anxiety of this or that or question what I choose to bring, it was just a pleasant get together and that was it.

I have watched a few movies and not been totally disturbed by the deeper meaning or the messages they are trying to get across. I have been too bed late and eaten sugar too early, and though my transgressions still have an effect, it is not potentially life threatening or at least crippling. I am not a neurotic mess. I don't mind if people have something to say about me and when I say the wrong thing it is not a crime punishable by death.

These are small victories but they are becoming more regular, more normal and I am enjoying them. Similar to the first time I was put on medication I have found that even though I thought I was still "in control" I had no idea how bad of shape I really was in. It is nice to have a second chance.
I didn't know what racing thoughts were until I STOPPED having them. I didn't understand how intense anxiety could be until it let up a little in me. I didn't understand sleep disturbances until I actually had a good night sleep more then once. I didn't recognize decreased energy until I had good energy. I didn't know what "depression" was until I was out of it. I didn't understand mania or hypo-mania until I had a definition AND something to compare it to. I DID NOT understand "CHEMICAL IMBALANCE" until I WAS BALANCED. It is nice to feel balanced. And now I can sure see and understand chemical reactions. They happen all the time in our bodies but some of then are TOO MUCH (or not enough).
... and that is all I have to say about that.
(for now anyway)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Choice and Friends- Two things I Love!

So yesterday I felt a sense of empowerment when I realized; I don't HAVE to take medication I CHOOSE to.
It is nice to feel happy and calm. I have to admit I may just be on an up swing, we'll see how I am next week. But for now it is nice to know that life does not have to be so difficult and we live in a wonderful time.
by-the-way I have a lot of good old friends and new friends and even new old friends and old new friends and I just wanted to say;
Thanks Friends!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I am mental but I am capable

So I have an opinion I'd like to share. I've often struggled with why, what is my problem and, obviously, do I really need medication? Life often raises us with improper thinking patterns and dysfunctional situations. Is this why I am the way I am or is it all in chemistry? Or is it a direct result of a head injury? My question is this: Does it Matter? Really isn't what matters what you do with it; what you choose to do with what life has given you?
I believe that just like many health issues mental illness can be the result of an injury. Is it not possible that a person can be injured emotionally to a point that will change them and their life forever and even their chemistry? It is obvious that this happens but we still somehow shun the idea that a mental/emotional injury could result in a life long handicap.

Now the beauty of modern medicine is that we have so many possibilities.

If a person looses a limb should they not use a prosthetic because they can learn to survive without one? Should a person not be considered capable because they need a wheel chair to get around or because they need to monitor their sugar levels and give them selves shots on a regular basis? Why, then, is it that as a society we look down so harshly on Mental Illness? I realize that it is partially because we all have mental and emotional issues that we have to get over so it is easy to target those people who seemingly don't. I also realize that many people with mental illness's DON'T live responsibly and can even be very dangerous. But I will say that just as we all have mental issues to overcome we all have regular health issues to overcome and though we can not all overcome all medical issue's we are wise enough to know that does not make a person useless or unintelligent, it is just their own bodies flaw, and we all have those. And I will say that if we can look at these things with a bit more of an open mind and heart then we can start addressing them better and save many people from much pain, heart ache and even death, as well as possibly ourselves because just like most things in life you really never know if you'll be hit or not.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Something to be said for counseling

So over the years I've learned a lot of good things on my own. A lot of good tricks. But there is something to be said for good counseling/therapy. Sometimes they can put things you already know in a way that helps them to click a little better. Sometimes they just give you the positive reinforcement that you need. Sometimes they teach you something new all together. And sometimes they say things that you know but didn't realize you know and suddenly things seem to make a bit more sense.
And the reality is if you need medication then you most likely need counseling as well. There is even a good chance that the counseling could help keep you off medication. However, medication is by no means, and never should, be viewed or used as an easy fix to avoid dealing with issues, but then again that is just my opinion.

Here a few things that my counselors have said that have really helped:


*At one point I was venting my frustrations with another person in my life, that I was having to deal with on a regular basis. I complained about how this person didn't give me any credit at all. This wise counselor validated my feelings but then she turned it around and said something to the effect of "But you also have to look at the other side to, You say she gives you no credit at all, but can you blame her?" What!? I thought but she quickly added, "YOU don't give yourself any credit." Good point, how and why should I expect others to give me credit if I really don't give myself any credit. I must say that, that was one of those life changing statements that really does make a huge difference.

*Another counselor and I were discussing physiology affecting the mind versus the mind affecting the physiology of the body. He said that our bodies can react to our minds but it is also possible that our mind try to come up with a reason for why or body is reacting the way it is for no apparent reason. This made a lot of sense to me.

*My first counselor once pointed out that while a pessimist perceives the world more accurately and optimist sees it for what it could be. Previous to this I vacillated between the two and could truly claim both. But after her pointing it out that way, I realized that it was more of a choice. It has since been easier to choose to be an optimist because, honestly, I don't want to settle for "the way things are."

That's all I'd like to share for now.

Feeling Good

So it's funny (really it's not) but the longer I'm on medication the more I begin to wonder why I struggle so much with the issue of taking it. I respond quite well to it. Sure I'm still a bit neurotic and still intense and all that, but I can physically feel the "chemicals" attempt to start to surge but then they don't and I have to say, it's nice. ("chemicals:" endorphins, adrenaline, not exactly sure what they are but you sure can feel them when the start escalating). I am not flying of the handle for trivial things and that is nice. And I can think myself out of things again without having to fall asleep to make my mind stop. I don't cry at everything and I can be happy and enjoy my day without getting overly excited like a puppy when his owner comes home. Sure I don't seem to get the same euphoric feelings as much but at least it's not followed by the depths of hell for who knows how long after. And the dark, the dark that you just can't explain but if you've felt it you know, it's not so much present or slyly lurking, watching and waiting around the next corner. I feel normal. Eventually my mind stops turning to death as the answer to everything (good or bad). And as fun as they can be, I do have less crazy days and times (I mean that both seriously and sarcastically). And eventually I'll be able to watch movies and television a bit more (though I still won't care to) and not be so darned affected by them and there "messages," still will but I'll at least be within a functional range.
I think it was the wise mantis sister who put it accurately when she said: "you don't lose yourself, you get yourself back."
I really hate to be putting in plugs for drugs... But when they work so well why do I keep struggling with taking them? I think I've mentioned reasons.
I think we are a bit too judgemental when it comes to taking these types of medications, I know that I am. Are they over prescribed? Probably. Does that mean that I shouldn't take them? I have to admit that I used to think this way, up until very recent, really. But eventually I realized how stupid that kind of thinking was. Because people take advantage of water and waste it, I should not drink it? You see it's stupid! I think it has taken years of counseling for me to come to that conclusion (and my very patient counselor very carefully mentioned suggestion that I might consider that avenue again).
But true to my nature, where before I was all about taking care of it naturally, now it sounds like I'm all about the drugs... I swear, I'm really not, I am just starting to really feel and notice the difference. And I like to talk about what I am feeling.
I also must admit that I often warned people of the problems they'd face if they took the prescription drug route. That was really bad advice for my brother...
My advice now would rather be "life does not have to be so hard" and "do what is necessary and be fine with it." We don't need to fight such a rough battle. It is OK to be happy, it is OK to enjoy life and there are a whole lot of different ways to do that. Be true to yourself, be true to Jesus, be true to Buddha, be true to what is good. You know what is good even when that is not you.
All we can do is our best and that is what I try to do. Not "my best isn't good enough" and not anyone else's best, but my best and on the days when I really don't know what that means or how then I only try and sometimes it's a matter of just hanging on.
I was just feeling "the difference" and I thought I might mention it. Hopefully it will be "the difference" that I feel more of. Had I started this blog sooner you'd probably hear more about the other Me's that are entertaining, I'm sure, but not my favorite. It's nice to feel level. I hope it lasts, but if not, that's o.k., I've been through this before and I know what to do.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

*the story of my crazy little life*

So why the @$#* would someone want to start a blog exposing there own vulnerabilities and questioning their sanity? Why are you asking this question anyway?
Read my older posts and then here is where it all began:
After graduating from high school I went to live in Florida for a year after being there for about seven months I some how found myself spending the night in a Mental Health facility, not by choice. Though I must confess that was not the first time I questioned my sanity. I remember explaining to the counselor that I had for some time felt like I had a little sanity chip in my brain that was somehow keeping my mess of a head together. I explained how I often wanted to break my head open so that it could all spill out and I could actually see it all and somehow put the pieces together like a puzzle. But this event in Florida is what really seemed to state "Houston, we have a problem."
Despite my "intensities" I really truly believed that everyone one was like me inside, they just did a better job of "pretending," and I didn't appreciate pretending. I really thought everyone contemplated ending there life and how. I thought it perfectly acceptable to set a date, as long as it was far enough off and I gave this life thing real honest effort.
The very talented psychiatrist that saw me somehow knew what I needed to hear and managed to work me over easily into taking medication. "At this point" she said "you can't afford not to." Then she proceeded to make sure I could get a few months worth for very close to free. She also put me on a medication that is not at all easy to stop taking, I think she did that on purpose.
Honestly it was a hard pill to swallow and I really didn't know what it meant. When I got back to my home state out west, I didn't like to visit psychiatrists or psychologists and relied on the library for any information. I was trying to get off the medication all of the time... Until I was a bit more "stable" anyway. But even after I had changed dramatically, in mostly positive ways and I fully recognized that this incident and medication really and truly did save my life, I did not want to stay on the stuff. I didn't think much about my sanity issue's so much but rather became a bit obsessed with other peoples "sanity" issue's. Eventually I was able to go off and I mostly had myself convinced that I didn't need them... Can't say that I was always a peach to be around, but other then my "intensity" I was fine...Really, I swear I was!

Sooo, I somehow got hit upside with life a few times and could very easily blame some of my "issues" on that but regardless I was starting to unravel. There were a few "coincidental" events that either fed a quicker unraveling or helped me to see that I was starting to unravel, thus preventing me from completely coming apart. The most notable to mention were my brother-in-laws book of his own personal story of bipolar and then that damned ol' boyfriend (whose wife also happened to be bipolar)... I found that I related a bit too well to people with some serious mental illness's. Now I fully realize that relating to be people who are "crazy" (and I mean that in the most endearing way) does not make one crazy. But as I said I was already unraveling... Despite my best efforts. And then the poor old bugger who used to be a "boyfriend" became a horrid obsession, which for the life of me, I could not get around... My mind seems to work that way. It was the first time I really realized and faced the fact that I obsess over things in a way that is totally disfunctional and despite my best efforts, I can't just "forget about it"... I am sorry old boyfriend and his wife to bring this up, but it is what it is and the best I can do is face it. So I started running more and taking supplements and reading more books and even going to counseling more...and many other things (like writing). They helped and they didn't.
You know, I think it might be a bit easier initially if I were just out right crazy, or if I did have a major breakdown. But I'm not and I haven't. I just have a body that reacts with shots of adrenaline for really silly reasons or even no reason at all. I have a brain that can't decide what it is, on any given day but is smart enough to somehow hold it together. I get terribly stuck in thinking patterns that I am still learning tricks to get out of (sometimes they work, sometimes I just have to go to sleep). I mimic cycles of a bipolar person and yet I have plenty of in between time. I have an irrationally and embarrassingly short fuss and all sorts of other issues.

So am I crazy? Not any more then the next person because I am choosing to deal with it. I take medication now. I tried really hard not to. But you hit a point where trying to stay ahead of yourself and your "moods" is so time consuming and exhausting that it is not only not worth it, but also more fair to family and those around you (especially your kids)... That and I rolled my car with my two kids in the back, all because I was "up" and overly confident. We miraculously all survived shaken but unscathed, I only had one minor cut on one finger. The car was a total, fortunately we were not.
That is when I took my sisters advice and "found a way."
Sooo that is the bulk of my sanity-in-a-nutshell but what sadly solidified the reality of it all was my brother's death, but I'll save that for another day...
Have a happy and mentally responsible day!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Suicidal default

So a few months ago (almost three) I wanted to start this blog in response to my brothers death. He "committed suicide" but who really knows what happened. Thing is at the time of the incident I did feel like I knew what happened and it did not shock me at all. All I can say is, I am glad I was on something and I am glad that I am on even more now. Death sucks and it is hard. Mental illness sucks and it is hard. For some of us an intense longing for death is the most sure manifestation that there is a problem, but how do you tell someone "hey I really think life is good and interesting but what I'd really like try is death." Yeah, it doesn't go over so well and for those that it does go over well with and you can actually talk about it openly with, it doesn't send the red flags that it should... and it may or may not always be present. So I think it's a horribly uncomfortable subject with a whole lot of cliches that, though they sound nice, do little for someone who genuinely longs for death... what a dreadful subject, but I tell you what, talking about it and exposing my own embarrassing flaws have saved me and others in more ways then we can know. I am alive after all.
And that is all I have to say for now.

Monday, March 9, 2009

on becoming mentally responsible

So the thing I don't get is this: if you happen to have mental/psychological defect that may require medication and you responsibly take that route, then you may be viewed as "unstable" or questionable and yet the truth is the mental freakaziods that are completely unstable and most likely to have some major dangerous "incidents" are those that are either 1. completely ignorant, 2. not mentally responsible and denying mental problems altogether or 3. not mentally responsible and refusing to take medication or 4. Trying to take care of there mental issues but not feeling like they can openly because they fear the repercussions of the label thus avoiding anything, like medication and counseling, that could potentially tie them to the negative stigma of "mentally ill" or 5. Have already been labeled as such and then expected to behave in such a way, not really allowed any opportunity or expectations of something otherwise.

So it is, I get to play this joyous game trying to figure out whats what without letting too many people on to what I am doing and /or taking. I am a dependable and safe person, more so then most, but I have this mind that just doesn't stop at times and this intensity that even I have a hard time with. But I do everything I can to keep it in check, keep myself in check. With some help from others and some brutal honesty with myself, a willingness to accept that I just may be flawed in such a way, and even a willingness to be wrong, I think I've done a pretty darn good job at it and I hope to continue to do so. I also think that it is entirely possible for people with varying degrees of mental illness's to be mentally responsible.

There is a billboard on the freeway for a regular medical hospital that shows a picture of a person that states "Early detection saved my life." I think that can be true of mental illness's as well. I believe that if they are detected early enough not just lives can be saved but quality of life can be improved. I think there are probably a lot of things we can do preventative and that it is entirely possible that with a preventive approach and education of the subject many "breakdowns" can be avoided. It is my opinion that major breakdowns are possibly avoidable and that if we can avoid a first breakdown, a mental illness will be much easier and less costly to manage for a lifetime. But there has to be some acceptance here. This is my opinion this is my stand and this is why I wanted to start this blog in the first place... Now how do I tell people about it with out telling people about it??? (letting them on to me)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

who, or what are you?

If there were such a thing as Tri-polar or multi-polar that would be me. But to my knowledge there is not. You see the problem with me is that I have plenty of extremes that often are quite hard to keep in check but I also have plenty of "normal" time (if you can call anything normal). I struggle with a range of intensities that often find me out of "acceptable" before I can keep it contained, or I contain myself to "Spare" everyone else. And presently I am rambling in a way that probably makes little sense but who cares this is my blog and I haven't even told anyone about it, it's just a palce to vent in hopes that in some bizzare way it may help someone else out there along the way...
So if anyone is listening expect to hear a thing or two about me and my sanity issue's and I'll tell more as we go.
Back in December my younger brother died from a self inflicted gunshot wound, they call it a suicide. thats all I feel like saying for now. Life is interesting.

Now what??

So the other day I could have sworn I heard my sister-in-law say my husbands name. I told him and he called her just to make sure she was ok. She was fine... Maybe I am starting to physically hear voices... Am I crazy?