Mood Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified

diagnosed bipolar and pissed about it

Month: June, 2012

stranded on a mountain

today i remembered why i never leave the house.

when i leave the house, something bad always seems to happen.  drama.  money is lost.  something gets broken. it’s safer (and cheaper) just to stay home, sweat out the heat, and play video games.  i’ve been able to make a lot of progress on earning trophies on the PlayStation Network.

i woke up today and tried to estimate how miserable the heat would be.  went through my usual morning ritual of closing all windows, pulling blinds, and turning on the swamp cooler.  it was mild, about 92 at 11am, and the weather report said it’d get up to 105.  no monsoon clouds to take the edge off either.  ugh.

i was about to doze off again when a friend from back home texted me a funny quote:

I bet if porn was completely pulled from the internet, there would only be one website left, and it would be called “bring back porn”

indeed.

so in texting back and forth, i was describing the heat, and getting away to the mountains to escape for a few hours, when a burst of motivation struck me.  i looked at the boys (my dogs) and said, let’s get the hell out of this heat!

i took a quick lukewarm shower, even though only the cold water knob was turned on.  i was envisioning the cool breeze, green forest, plants, flowers, and otherwise non-barren-wasteland ecology.  it’s going to be a really lovely day, i thought.  just in time to miss the hottest part of the day, too.

ha.

i got us packed in a jiffy.  the boys were excited when they saw the hiking shoes and camelbak come out.  last week we went for a 3 hour hike, although i figured we’d go up a bit higher this time to reach even cooler weather.  got some gas and a redbull to help maintain my motivational state and headed toward the mountain.

by the time we reached the base of the mountain, i was singing along to music and happy to be doing anything, really.  i saw the sign that said it was about 25 miles to the point where we were headed.  another 35 minutes or so, and we’d be surrounded by lush, verdant flora.

cruising around the twists and turns, we passed a couple of the campgrounds at the lowest altitude.  it was still way too hot there.  we had a ways to go.

i was headed toward a concave curve along the mountain, when i heard a strange metallic crunch and felt my rear driver side tire kind of sink.  thankfully the traffic was already slowing for the curve, and there was a pullout at this particular location.  i started pulling over to the side, thinking i had a flat tire.

i felt a second metallic crunch, and then i only felt metal on the pavement.  i saw my wheel rolling straight on, as if i hadn’t turned.

holy balls.

fortunately it was headed mountain side and i figured i’d have no problem retrieving it.  i just knew i had to get to a stop quickly and safely if i wanted to salvage the housing on my brake.

by the time we were still, i was shaking.  two cars pulled over immediately to offer help.  no one had cell service and no one knew what to do.  i didn’t have AAA.  no local family.  XBF told me he didn’t want me to tell him about anything stressful (that’s another story for later).  friends were out of town.  i was going to have to stick this one out on my own.

i couldn’t leave my dogs.  one of the ladies that stopped offered to stop at the ranger station to request help.  i estimated it was another 15-20 minutes from where we were.  it would have to do.

it felt like forever before the sheriff arrived.  it must have been a while because two women heading down the mountain stopped to pass on a message to me that the police had been notified, and would be heading down soon.

i spent the time retrieving my wheel from the small ravine it fell into.  NOT AN EASY TASK.  i drive a jeep wrangler that is lifted a couple of inches and has some decently big tires.  not to mention that, as luck would have it, we didn’t break down on the shady side of the mountain.  we were in a prime location to fry on pavement.  i almost fainted a couple of times as i heaved it uphill.  my entire front side turned black from the tire and wheel because i had to use my whole body to move to confounded thing up a steep and rocky terrain.

i finally got to the road and back in the car.  now my whole body was shaking.  i drank water and tried to cool off.  my poor dogs were panting even with the a/c on.  i tried to listen to the radio to pass the time but radio in this town seriously sucks.  besides, my fingers were shaking so badly it took me forever to change the stations.  i settled for crappy music and tried to manage the self-flagellating that was already starting.

finally i saw the sheriff’s SUV.  the lights came on as she slowed and pulled in behind us.  i cheered and the boys got excited, although they didn’t know for what.  the sheriff took a look at the place where my wheel used to be and concluded i would need to be towed for sure.  all i heard was dollar signs.  but, what choice did i have?

it was another hour before the tow truck arrived, although they had estimated it would take about 30 minutes.  living here, you have to just embrace the sweat.  don’t try to fight it.  you are going to melt like a fucking snowman in the middle of july.  by the time the tow truck arrived, i was swimming in it.  i waded out of my car to talk to the tow guy and the sheriff and come up with some plan.  we decided to tow Delilah (my Jeep) to the nearest tire store.  the sheriff would drive me and my dogs down, since the tow guy wasn’t allowed to have dogs in the truck.  by then it was nearly 4pm, so i’d probably need a ride home too.

for some reason, the tow truck driver didn’t have a jack nor tools to stick the tire back on temporarily.  sheriff to the rescue again!  she had whatever it was we needed and i watched my broken baby limp onto the tow truck.  i busied myself taking pictures of that whole process, and of the boys in the back of the sheriff’s car.  the back seat, although enclosed in a cage, was quite comfortable.  the sheriff’s a/c was on.  my boys were safe.  my little excursion was costing me a fortune but at least we were all okay.

on the way down i sent out an SOS text to three people: a friend, Satan Spawn, and XBF, although i was reluctant to sent one to him due to his moratorium on my stressful events.  meanwhile, Beautiful Disaster is texting me and we’re having a conversation about sitting in the back of a police car, among other things.  yes, he shot my dog.  but i needed some fucking support so give me a break.

no one responded to my text, so i called each person.  no answer.  of the three people i contacted, i only heard back from two during this whole mess: my friend, who turned out to be in oklahoma, and Satan Spawn, who called me after i had already hitched a ride from a stranger at the tire place.  radio silence from XBF, until about a half hour ago when he responded “if you’re looking to talk about us, then yes i’m busy. i’m studying.”

i’m starting to get really sick of that guy.

fortunately, a very kind retired airforce pilot gave me a ride home, all 25 minutes away from where we were.  it was going to be a hefty cab expense and i was glad to have the ride.  i had him drop us off at the university, so at least my boys could get some kind of walk today.

we finally arrived home, all exhausted, hot, panting, sweaty.  i walked straight into the bathroom, peeled off my dirty clothes and took another lukewarm shower to rinse off the day.  made a pb & j sandwich–two actually–and sat down for a relaxing evening destroying shit in Infamous 2.

deflated

i’m so deep in my head that my sensory experience of the external environment is dulled and muted.  i have things to write about, but no drive to follow through.  in fact, i don’t have drive to follow through with just about anything.  it’s like being depressed without the heavy feeling.  apathy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

it feels like my internal motivation is gone.  which is weird for someone whose fascination with all things used to propel her through life.

i am decidedly an introvert.  i have little desire to socialize with others, and the range of people with whom i am interested in interacting is much more narrow.

i can’t even tell if this is a reaction to the news i received last week, or if it can be attributed to the lithium, or if i really have morphed into someone quite different from who i used to be.

it’s extremely unsettling when i can’t even predict myself.

braising like a pot roast

i’ve spent much of the last week in quiet reflection.  stewing. simmering. absorbing.

it’s the only way i can manage to process the unsavory idea that my second opinion has returned in the affirmative for bipolar disorder.

it’s still a working diagnosis to be sure, but my PhD, clinical psychologist, who specializes in mood disorders like bipolar, and who has 20 years of experience is inclined to think i’m bipolar too.  blast.

shame is the predominant flavor, along with a handful of guilt, a splash of confusion, and a pinch of relief.  i’ve thrown in a shake or two of denial too, for good measure.

the shame is perhaps the most irrational of the bunch, because it is just so completely enveloping.  i feel like damaged goods.  anything negative anyone has ever said about me suddenly feels more true.  my enemies have been vindicated.  i feel categorically different than “normal” people, like they are living this parallel life, unfazed, and i am watching from the shadows.  hell, i AM a shadow.

it’s a delicate dance, and i haven’t been pushing it.  i’m letting it wash over me and i’m observing.  i will look forward to that period beyond the processing.  the feeling of acceptance.

right after i get another opinion…

now i know what narcolepsy feels like

just kidding; i have no idea.  but it has felt like i have something approximating narcolepsy since yesterday.  i only got 5 hours of sleep Sunday night which then led me to REQUIRE another 6 hours of sleep during the day Monday.  despite my lengthy nap, i could not keep my eyes open past 11:30pm, when i crashed out for another 12 hours.  you would think i would be rested again but no.  i have had to take 2 naps today just to get by.  i’d probably still be sleeping right now if it weren’t for my therapist appointment.

speaking of therapy, i’ve been seeing this woman for about a month now.  she specializes in mood disorders, especially bipolar.  she’s been hesitant to diagnose me without getting to know more about me first.  today i asked what her opinion is, and she said she also thinks I have bipolar 2.

i’ve got a lot of mixed feelings about this.

for one, it’s a relief because my decision to start medication has been vindicated to some degree.  i’ve taken a nontrivial amount of grief for that from various people who didn’t believe my first opinion and wanted me to get a second opinion first.

second, i feel sad.  this is a bit surprising to me, since i had already felt at least some level of acceptance of the diagnosis.

third, i feel uncomfortable because i don’t yet know the impact this condition will have on me and my life.

fourth, i simultaneously feel scared people will find out, but i also want to tell a lot of people.  i don’t want to hide from it.

fifth, i feel blank.

the day my dog was shot

this week marks the one year anniversary of my precious, sweeter-than-honey 5 lb yorkie bundle of love getting shot.  not shots like vaccines.  shot like with a 9mm pistol.

this was just one in a month-long series of events that should have indicated to me that something was very, very wrong.  it was not only that my dog was shot, but the event did not impact me the way that it should have.  i was sailing on another planet, too high to come down.

there were a lot of events like that last summer.

it’s hard to say what exactly took place that night.  looking at my old bank statements among the fast food joints, bars, liquor stores, and overdraft fees, it appears to have been a bender.  dinner out with a group to celebrate a friend’s going-away to a new job. a $30 cab fee (??) which is really confusing because this town is NOT that big and you would have to try to get a cab fee that high.  a total of FOUR trips to liquor stores.  two different bar tabs totalling over $60.

all i know is i was shit-faced drunk out of my mind and I had painted the town fire-engine red that night.

at some point, Beautiful Disaster had joined me.  if i had to guess, i’d say we made another pit stop at his bar to do shots in the back too.

i got home, somehow, with Beautiful Disaster in tow.  what happens next has been seared into my memory for the rest of my life.

i was changing into pajamas while Beautiful Disaster sat on my bed.  out of the corner of my mind, i recognized that Beautiful Disaster was inspecting the 9mm pistol that i kept on my night stand.  it didn’t really concern me, in part due to the alcohol i’m sure, but also in part because he had given me a thorough lesson on gun safety the night before.

a shot rang out.

it was surprisingly quiet, kind of like one of those party poppers (albeit a big one…).  i looked at him, confused.  my heart was racing because i was about 5 feet away from the bullet trajectory.  his eyes were wide and he had the ‘oops’ look all over his face.  but, i didn’t think it was loud enough for the neighbors to hear, so they were unlikely to call the police.

i was on the verge of a fit of mad laughter when my little dog began squealing.  i remember thinking the sound must have scared him.  i saw him hopping around on the bed.

suddenly i saw a trail of red follow where ever he landed.

plop, plop, plop

somehow my whole room seemed to be covered in blood.  it was on the floor, my bed, the walls.  i started to scream as i envisioned my dog, my light of my life, my partner in crime, my sidekick, dying.

i fucking LOST IT.  somehow between the tears and wails of agony, i managed to wrap up my little guy in a towel and apply pressure to the wound.  (thank god i love crime shows)  once he was in my arms, he quieted down.  i looked at him, and he looked at me.  i could just hear him saying ‘mom, what’s going on?’ and my heart was breaking.

‘FUCKING DO SOMETHING!!!!!’ i screamed at Beautiful Disaster, who thought removing pressure and looking at the wound was something to be done.  i think i may have told him to fuck off and to call a cab and look up an emergency vet.  i don’t really remember.  i remember yelling and screaming and crying, and trying not to imagine my dog dying, and wondering how i turned into such a shit show.

for some reason, he decided to call police.  i don’t know why.  in hindsight that was a pretty fucking bad idea.  but i was out of my mind and i didn’t care.  i needed someone with a motor vehicle at my house NOW.

they arrived shortly thereafter and interrogated us about the incident.  i was told they would give me a ride to the vet, but they just kept waiting and waiting and talking amongst themselves.  my baby’s blood was soaking into the towel.  every minute counted.  i walked up to the police and said, take me to the vet now, please.  liquid courage, indeed.

they took me to a nearby emergency vet.  (side note: it is VERY uncomfortable in the back of a police car.)  Beautiful Disaster was still getting interrogated at my house.  I remember hearing him say that he was my boyfriend and lived with me, but i had priorities and his stupid lie to the police wasn’t one of them.  little did i know he would also say that the pistol was his and then would hand it over to them.  keep in mind this is my EX-live-in-boyfriend’s gun.

upon arrival at the vet they took my dog in the back.  i looked down and saw my arms, hands, and shirt were covered in blood.  my heart was pounding.  it was very early in the morning, maybe 6am.  i hadn’t slept.  i had been scared sober but there was still alcohol coursing through my veins.  i felt dirty and trashy.  i didn’t deserve my dog.

a police officer remained with me for a while, trying to get information about the incident.  i remember not giving a flying fuck about his authority or badge, and when he asked about Beautiful Disaster, i told the officer he’d have to go ask him and lit a cigarette and ignored him for the rest of the time.

can i just mention that i actually like police officers?  i’ve heard horror stories, sure.  no doubt, some people suck and they end up as police officers.  but i normally appreciate their public service.  and here i was, acting like an impudent 15-year old girl.

eventually Beautiful Disaster showed up in a taxi.  he was freaking the fuck out too but trying to play it cool.  it didn’t work.  it just so happens that he also has brain damage, of the frontal lobe variety, and apparently intense stress makes him black out.  he kept fading in and out.  when he was conscious he’d tell me i need to call his neuropsychologist, and then he’d pass out again.  i smacked him a couple of times with no luck (although it did make me feel a little better).

i called the doctor he mentioned during one brief period of lucidity.  the doctor wasn’t in but the guy i spoke to told me i needed to bring him to the hospital immediately.

i was freaking the fuck out AGAIN.

my dog was in the back of the vet, SHOT.  they are telling me that i need to take my dog to a different vet with a surgeon on staff.  suddenly the seconds are ticking again.  the front desk lady tells me she will call to let the next emergency vet we are coming.

Beautiful Disaster is in the front, who might be having serious issues with brain damage, and i have explicit instructions from the hospital’s neuropsychology department to bring him in NOW.

i’m calling a taxi and calling 911.  the fire department and ambulance show up.  by this time, Beautiful Disaster has stumbled outside.  he’s vomiting and passing out, interchangeably.  i am feeling like i’m on another planet.  i felt 100% alone, because i thought no friend deserved to deal with this level of bullshit.  i made my bed and needed to lie in it.

Beautiful Disaster is telling the 5 firemen and EMTs to fuck off and he’s not leaving the vet.  he’s repeating over and over again that my dog is his priority and he’s going to save the dog.  they force him to sign a waiver that says if he dies they aren’t responsible.  it turns into a pissing contest among the men.  somehow they have all formed a semi-circle around me.  i light another cigarette.

the next cab is taking forever.  i called back the cab company twice and eventually called another one all together, i think.  after what feels like a fucking eternity, the cab arrives and Beautiful Disaster and I head to the second vet.  he’s begging me to talk to him, to forgive him.  he’s apologizing non-stop.  i don’t give a fuck.

we walk into the vet and the strangest thing happens.  i tell the front desk the situation.  and i start laughing.  hysterically, with tears.  and i’m trying to say, but wait, no, no…i don’t actually think this is funny at all.  i can’t figure out why i’m laughing.  i decide to let Beautiful Disaster handle it.

they tell us that the previous vet never called them and that they don’t have a surgeon either.  the clock is ticking again.  i’m ready to curse the previous vet, who did virtually nothing, including NOT calling the vet they told me they had called, and still charged $500.

thankfully, the cab is still outside, or nearby, or something, where we don’t have to wait long.  we head to a third vet.  by this time, my dog is not looking so good.  he’s weak and quiet.  i’m getting ready to cut a bitch if i don’t get somewhere with a fucking doctor who can help.

we arrive at this giant hospital-looking vet.  i knew this was going to be the place.  they take my little champion in the back, and i sit in the little room, waiting.  eventually i start to nod off.

Beautiful Disaster is off doing something.  getting something to drink.  calling his family to tell them what happened.  calling his lawyer, who is now somehow also my lawyer in this situation, if it turned out that i needed one.  he’s trying to figure out where to get money for the vet bill.  he’s calling relatives asking for money.  finally he shows up to the room where i am with drinks, cigarettes, a stuffed animal, and a bunch of other shit to cheer me up.

he tells me he’s going to need to pull the money out of the settlement he received when he was hit by a car (hence the brain damage).  for some reason, he’s telling me he needs to transfer all of it into MY account, and then transfer it back out to his own account.  i don’t get it but i don’t really care.  i just want my dog taken care of.

the thing is, this settlement is non-trivial.  i mean non-trivial in the sense that i could fully retire along with the rest of my family, non-trivial.  lots of zeros.  i’m wondering why the fuck this kid wants to transfer all of the funds to me, even for an hour.  i mean, i’m not going to steal it or anything but it just seems incredibly risky.  i admit, i was satisfied at the prospect of saying i was a millionaire for a day.

it never happened though and he ended up telling his grandmother how much he loved me and that shooting the dog was his responsibility and he wanted to cover the vet bills.

the vet came in and said, luckily, the bullet wound had only punctured tissue.  there was no damage to bones or organs.  they had cleaned it and wanted to hold my little guy over night for observation.  i would probably be able to pick him up the next day.  i couldn’t believe it.

they also said we could call to periodically check in to see how my dog is doing at any time of the day.  Beautiful Disaster called every hour, on the hour, and sometimes in between.

when i got home, i looked at the wreckage.  blood spatter covered everything.  my arms were still spotted with blood.  i was so tired, i just collapsed on my bed, lying among the dried spots.  i fell into a deep, deep sleep.

fuck off

every once in a while i get a weird sensation.  it’s a dizzy, disconnected kind of feeling.  my memory gets especially bad for a brief period.  sometimes it will happen midday, others at night.  i attribute it to either the lithium i am taking or the trauma i am still processing after my sister was hospitalized.  it’s probably some combination of the two, plus a few other things thrown in for good measure.

this happened to me last night.  i took my normal dose at night right before heading over to XBFs house to pick up a sandwich I left there.  fortunately it didn’t start until i got there.  unfortunately, it happened right as we got into a stupid argument.  i lost track of space and time.  the room felt strange.  i couldn’t process any thoughts.  he said things happened and i have no way of knowing whether they did or not.  i apologized for doing things i couldn’t remember doing, or even imagine doing.  at one point in the conversation i looked at him and said, “i have no idea what’s going on”.  it was a terrifying, embarrassing, uncomfortable realization.

let me back up a little.

on tuesday, i had my appointments with my psychiatrist and therapist.  i brought up my possible move to the Pacific Northwest region and whether bipolars are more sensitive to depressive episodes related to the seasons.  indeed they are, she said.

that’s a problem.

where i’d be moving, i’ve come to realize, there are fewer than 8 hours of daylight in the winter.  and many of those days are expected to be cloudy and grey.  this is worrisome because i’m trying to stabilize my mood and i don’t really want to throw any wrenches in those plans.

there are other problems to be considered.  the location is remote and isolated.  i would be essentially socially isolated from others, and it wouldn’t be possible…or easy, at least…to find a clinical psychologist and psychiatrist who i could see regularly.

these new considerations are leading me to question the benefit of a move to that location.  yes, i would live with my aunt for free.  i would be surrounded by nature and not too far from a city i love (although i’d have to cross an international border to get there).  my dogs would be pretty happy in such a lush environment.  i could save a lot of money and perhaps even get some work done on my dissertation.  but would it come at the cost of a stable mood?

so, i’ve been thinking about other options.  i can’t really afford to live in california right now, and it’s sounding more and more like my grandma will just say no outright if i ask to move in.  besides that the economy there is a total disaster right now, especially for the colleges and universities, so getting a job is questionable.

i arrived at a rather unpleasant and disappointing conclusion.  i could always stay here, i guess.  it’s more affordable.  i have a therapist and psychiatrist already.  there are over 300 days of sunshine, so vitamin D wouldn’t be a problem.  i have some amazing friends nearby.  this may not sound like an unpleasant or disappointing situation to be in, but unfortunately i’ve experienced an incredible number of fucked up events here so it would take a miracle to get me to see the positive side of it.

in any case, when i got to XBF’s house, i told him this.  well, i actually only got so far as to tell him that i’m thinking of staying here when he started in on why it was a horrible idea and there’s no reason to do that and i hate it here and have never said anything good about it ever.  he kept going on and finally i got so fed up and irritated that i said, “did it ever cross your mind to ask why i would be thinking about changing my plans??”

he responded to my irritation, staring at me.  it was a look of disbelief, like i was a giant insect.  this is when i started feeling those side effects i mentioned.  the room felt funny.  dizziness.  i couldn’t concentrate.

he said he couldn’t believe i came over and within 10 seconds started a fight.

what??

i was pretty sure i didn’t start a fight but i was starting to lose track of things.  i felt completely lost and helpless.  i tried to start over with the reasons i was considering staying.  about the limitations of the pacific northwest.

then it turned into a different animal entirely.  XBF gave me an icy glare and made some offhand comment about me taking the word of my psychiatrist like gospel.  his anger arose from the fact that he had mentioned something about the weather there, and he claims i disregarded it totally, but when the psychiatrist says it, i believe it hook, line, and sinker.

oh great, i thought.  this is going to become another conversation about how much XBF hates psychiatrists.  yet another example of his uncanny ability to turn all conversations into something about him.

so i asked him, point blank.  i could hear the anger in his voice when he corrected me.  it was just my psychiatrist he had a problem with.  hoo-ray.  now we were getting somewhere.

were we ever.  little did i know what was about to come out next.

see, XBF doesn’t believe i have bipolar disorder.  he’s angry with me for starting treatment before getting an official second opinion. he constantly tells me about how lithium is a serious drug.  i pretty much can’t and don’t talk to him about the experience of being diagnosed and treated, which makes for a pretty lonely experience.

so this is what he’s now saying.  that now that i’ve gotten the bipolar diagnosis, i’m acting more like i have it.  that when i try to explain my behavior using bipolar as a reference, i’m just making up excuses.

that’s not what takes the cake though.

then he says all of these other symptoms i’m describing that don’t fit bipolar (the dizziness i mentioned at the beginning of this post, the memory problems i’ve been having, etc)…all of them, he says, are the exact ones *he* described for his brain damage.

in other words, i’m just taking his experience and making it my own.  that i’m imagining my symptoms.  i’m making it up.

for my own safety and sanity, i got up and left.  not before i told him he was a fucking asshole though.  honestly, i don’t even know what to say or think about what he said.  i can’t think of any conversation that doesn’t start with “you’re a fucking idiot”.  and since i learned my manners from Thumper in the movie Bambi, i won’t say anything at all.

my first blog award nomination

I am honored to receive my first blog award nomination from ApplejAxe from Lollipops and Razor Blades.

I became fascinated with her blog a few weeks ago, which would have been right about the time i started this blog now that I think about it, when I read a few of her posts about her past life as a stripper.  I have a special place in my heart for people who do unconventional things for a living (e.g., one of my close friends used to be a mortician) because they see another side of life, one that most people are unwilling to see.  Not to mention, learning about life as an exotic dancer would be fascinating, no?  🙂

As I got involved with the mental health blogging community I noticed a number of people who had received awards like this.  Honestly I had some mixed feelings.  I thought it was great that bloggers create awards to recognize others’ work.  It’s nice to see so many writers being rewarded for their time, effort, and talent.  On the other hand, many of these awards function similar to chain letters and I was concerned that they could reflect a popularity contest rather than merit.  And since I tend to prefer the underdog, that bothered me.

So when I received notice that I’d received this award I flip flopped a bit as to whether I would accept and pass on the award.  In the end, I decided to stop being such a curmudgeonly asshole and participate in the freaking community.

ApplejAxe, thank you for the thoughtful award!

And now, The Rules:

  1. Thank the person/people who nominated you and link back to them in your post.
  2. Share seven possibly unknown things about yourself.
  3. Nominate fifteen or so bloggers you admire.
  4. Contact the chosen bloggers to let them know and link back to them

Number 1, check.

Number 2: seven unknown things about me.

  1. i wanted to be an international spy.  i even looked into the CIA and FBI, but had already smoked pot too many times by then. still, i love spy movies even if they can be a little ridiculous sometimes.
  2. i have been proposed to at least 5 times.  i proposed once.  i am still single.
  3. i really, really want to take up urban exploring but first i need to move somewhere urban.
  4. i have to bring a big sweatshirt to see scary movies because i empathize with the characters too much.  i have even brought one of my only remaining stuffed animals, Thomas the Tiger, with me to movie theaters.
  5. i am attracted to women but am too scared to do anything about it.
  6. i run–no–sprint away from conflict.
  7. i once got charles manson’s writing address for valentine’s day, from my dad who was in prison at the time.  i never thought of anything clever enough to write.

Numbers 3 & 4: Okay, it took me a long time to generate a list of blogs.  I like too many of them, so I basically picked some that I follow that had been recently updated.  I am also trying to limit my nominations to bloggers who have not received this award already (as far as I can tell on their blog page).  Here it goes…

~ Reflections of a Crazy Life ~

This is actually a tumblr account but her witty quips and phrases really make my day a little better.  Hilarious, indeed.  I even just signed up for tumblr to give her the award but I can’t figure it out so I’ll be contacting bipolarchick79 on facebook.  🙂

~ As the Pendulum Swings ~

I love this blog for it’s design and because it is a rich source of information about mental health.

~ A Blog By Any Other Name ~

Raeyn put together the Bipolar Blogger Network (of which I am a member) as a resource for others who have bipolar or who have just been diagnosed.  I think these resources are vital for those who are new to the community.  I, for one, don’t know how well I would have processed everything without the support of the online community.

~ A Canvas of the Minds ~

Okay, is this cheating?  This is actually a blog that is maintained by a number of bloggers who write about mental health.  I am, however, only going to count it as ONE nomination toward my possible 15.  🙂

As yet another blogging network, Canvas of the Minds is a great one-stop shop for information and personal experiences with mental health.  You will find some very talented writers there.

~ bi[polar] curious ~

Admittedly this blog originally caught my eye because of it’s clever play on words in the title, not to mention i describe myself as bicurious.  Sarah also turns out to be a very thoughtful writer and covers a lot of topics related to bipolar disorder.

~ Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars ~

This blogger stole my heart with her poetry and I have been hooked ever since.

~ Bipolar Bear ~

I found a kiwi!  🙂  This New Zealander writes about mental illness and provides a forum to discuss topics related to homosexuality.  Bipolar Bear brings out my inner Pride.

~ Running Naked with Scissors ~

Any blogger that writes about “bending the rules” has my attention.  Lizzie is hilarious and insightful.  Try it out, you’ll see.

~ Disorderly Chickadee ~

I started reading this blog because it reminded me of a friend back home who studied black-capped chickadees for her Master’s thesis in neuroscience.  I continued reading this blog because DeeDee is a good writer, and because I can identify with her (I am earning a PhD and afraid of what effect the stigma of bipolar disorder will have on my career).

~ Satis ~

Chris is one of my favorite people because he engages you and is very thoughtful in his comments and posts.  Take, for example, the very kind post he wrote to reach out to some of the community dealing with depression.  This post made me cry, and bloggers like Chris are the reason I have had the strength to get through this.

~ Buzzkillbook ~

Peter has written a ton of posts on various aspects of bipolar.  He’s even published a book!

~ Hyperbole and a Half ~

hehehe, I’m pret-ty excited to be nominating Hyperbole and a Half.  In fact I feel a little mischievous and I’m not sure why.  It doesn’t matter.  this blogger wrote Adventures in Depression, which is one of my all time favorite blog posts ever.

~ Bipolarly ~

Bipolarly is thought-provoking.  I also frequently check up on her facebook page where she posts funny and provocative pictures related to bipolar disorder.

~ Frances K Wolfe ~

Frances is who I imagine myself to be, but I don’t really have the guts to execute it.  She includes just the right amount of snark in her posts.  Witty, intelligent, and talented.  Pushes boundaries.  I like.

~ Bipolar Burble ~

Natasha Tracy, as far as I can tell by her webpage, is kind of a big to-do in the bipolar community.  This goes against my underdog advocacy movement but she is just so good I can’t help it.  She provides a real wealth of information about bipolar and mental illness.

Thanks again, ApplejAxe!  You made my day!  🙂

acceptance

a knot formed in my stomach after i finished my last post.  i remembered that i hadn’t told XBF about the cheating incident.  in fact, i had lied to him several times when he specifically asked about it.  he had made a big deal out of cheating and i didn’t have the guts to tell him.

i’m feeling more stable and grounded now, and it felt wrong to keep up a charade.  besides, we’re entering talks of getting back together so i felt he should have all of the information before making any commitments.  this is the last of a series of emotional bombs i dropped on XBF over the past 6 months or so.  i hope.

i told him over the phone.  i was very matter-of-fact about it, giggly even.  that wasn’t intentional, i was just nervous and scared.

we got into it a bit.  it took everything i had to stay on the phone.  i would have preferred to just hang up the phone and go back to playing video games.

i tried to provide explanations for my behavior, but they were all just interpreted as excuses.  he got pretty angry and reminded me about our accountability conversation.  i thought i was being accountable but saying so just made him even more pissed off.  clearly, we have different definitions.

he said i didn’t sound remorseful at all; he was right.  that would have been too threatening.  showing emotions would have left me vulnerable.

we could have spent the rest of the afternoon bickering about details.  finally, i threw in the towel and apologized and said i was wrong to lie etc etc.  suddenly the once tumultuous ocean was now flat and calm.

he sounded tired but appreciative.  there was affection in his voice.  this felt less threatening to me, so i felt comfortable being more emotional too.  i cried and told him he really has seen the worst sides of me this past year.  it’s true.  i can’t figure out why he still wants to be with me but he does.

that feeling of acceptance, though, is priceless.

ghosts from hypomania past

at 7:30am my phone rang.  i blinked the sleep out of my eyes and tried to focus on the screen.  it read “Beautiful Disaster” and i stared at it for a while, letting it go to voicemail.  why was he calling so early in the freaking morning?

not that i would put it past him, but it was a little early to be completely fucked up.  and besides, he had been calling a bunch of times for several months without me returning calls.  curiosity got the best of me.  i called him back.

Beautiful Disaster.  that’s the name i gave to the 21 year old italian deviant playboy who was my partner in crime last summer.  he was one of my students last year.  a real pain in my fucking ass.  on the third day of class, i had to bring him outside to tell him not to come to class shitfaced drunk.  after that he just showed up high on pills or weed which was marginally better.

my boyfriend at the time, who i’ll undoubtedly get to at some point because events with him inevitably contributed to the onset of my hypomanic episode, had left for a vacation to hawaii just as i started my class and i planned to join him after i finished teaching.  we lived together, had talked about buying a house, were engaged briefly, the works.  we were to spend the rest of our lives together.  somehow, in just a few short weeks, the entire course of my life changed.

suddenly i noticed that i was turned on around this kid.  he was a deviant and risky and adventurous.  my heart would race and i would get horny and i had to actively avoid looking at him in class.  masturbation didn’t help.  previously if i had gotten stuck lusting after someone, i could just masturbate the feelings away and get back to my relationship.  not so in this case.

he didn’t make it really easy either.  he’d stay after class and talk to me.  one day he left his sunglasses in the classroom and wanted to come with me to my office to get them.  this guy was clearly dangerous and i was in trouble.  unfortunately, that just excited me more.

the last straw occurred on the second to last day of class.  i was reviewing for the final with my students and Beautiful Disaster pulled out all the stops.  at the beginning of class he made a big show about pulling a desk, noisily i might add, across the classroom so he was sitting next to me.  he commented on my shoes and would say strange things.  i was trying not to let on that i was so horny i could faint.

suddenly, he folded over himself and seemed to be coughing or choking or something.  when he sat up, he held out his hand and said “oh my god, my tooth fell out!”  at a loss for words, i watched as this event unfolded in slow motion.  the other students are laughing hysterically, i’m trying not to laugh while i’m watching this kid freak out, dashing from corner to corner, collecting his things to leave.  he’s almost out the door when he stops and looks back in the room, announcing that he “needs my phone number” because he can’t use email.  i think my jaw dropped as i tried to refuse this very public request for my information.  eventually i caved and gave it to him, and ended up having to give my number to the entire class later.

i couldn’t really recover from that.  i kept laughing randomly while going over exam questions.  at the end of the class, i noticed a pencil had been left on the front desk.  i went to give it back to the student who owned it but she refused to take it.  beautiful disaster, she said, had been chewing on it, and had actually pulled his tooth out on purpose.  he apparently had veneers and popped one of them off.  losing a tooth for my number wins the prize for unique pick up lines.

this, of course, drove me crazy.  thankfully, i was leaving for hawaii the day after the final exam and i thought, whew! now i can get back to my life.   i had been on the south beach diet for a month and had lost 12 lbs.  i looked good.  i was excited and ready to go.  except Beautiful Disaster had my number.  and we texted the entire time i was away.  i ended up having to get unlimited text messaging later because i went over my limit and racked up a bill over a hundred bucks.

i ended up telling my boyfriend at the time that i was attracted to this guy and that i wanted an open relationship.  all the while i was texting this student and we were going NUTS over each other.  it was one big adrenaline rush.  somehow, i thought this was all okay.

we even got into sending dirty texts to one another and i emailed him pictures of me on the beach in hawaii.  who does that?!  while they’re on vacation with their boyfriend?!  we were even on the trip with his adopted sons and their family, staying in their house, and i didn’t care!  i was so horny all the time i couldn’t even think straight.  i tried to fuck it off with my boyfriend, but the sex was decidedly unsatisfactory and boring.  besides, he couldn’t last longer than a few minutes and that was not enough to get me off.

by the time we got back into town, i was so fucking antsy i went out with friends right away.  we got home from hawaii and literally within an hour or two i was out having drinks telling them about my failed attempt to have an open relationship.  and of course, beautiful disaster was blowing me up.  all of the sudden i get a text from him, saying he is down the street at the new bar he just opened and would i please come by?

i brought my whole posse with me and we walked down to this new restaurant/bar.  beautiful disaster bought ALL of us drinks all night.  we all got completely shit faced and come closing time, my friends went home and i decided to stay.  i even had one of my friends call my live-in boyfriend to let him know i’m staying at her house.  i think i did plan to stay at her house, but when she wanted to leave…i didn’t.  so i stayed there with him, partying, drinking…he’s trying to convince me to hook up with him and i’m resisting.

the details get fuzzy, but we decided to go for a walk, i guess.  we were headed down an alley toward the street when he pushes me up against a gate and kisses me.  i don’t resist.  i think “fuck, i’m such an asshole” and then keep kissing him.  then we’re walking across the street and the sprinklers are running.  what do the two drunk deviants do?  we race over there and start making out in the sprinklers.  we get down, rolling around in the mud.  i get up and realize i have lost the keys to my boyfriend’s car, which i had driven that night.  what the fuck am i going to do?  we are soaked and muddy, and i can’t go home, and i can’t go to my friend’s house because she’s not answering her phone.

he offers to have me at his place.  he calls a cab and we wait on the street.  when a police car stops to ask if we’re (i’m) okay, beautiful disaster says i’m his girlfriend and we’re just having some fun.  the cab shows up, but it’s a fucking  limousine. literally. a limo to take us to his place.  i get in, mud and all, and we head back to his place.  i rinsed off my muddy clothes.  we ended up making out all night.  no sex, but it wasn’t far behind.

come morning i woke up in a panic.  what the hell was going on?!  i didn’t have keys, my sunglasses were gone, my clothes were still wet.  i tried calling and texting friends to come over and do laundry but no one was awake at 8am.  no wonder, with all the booze we drank the night before.

beautiful disaster and i went back and combed the area where the fateful events had happened last night.  i tried to keep my distance from him because we were right near the university.  i was afraid someone i knew or who knew my boyfriend at the time would see me there with him.  my heart was pounding.  i didn’t think about the fact that i cheated on my boyfriend.  i would have to figure that out later.

thankfully, beautiful disaster found the keys and i bolted out of there.  i was gritty and hung over and trying not to panic.  i got home and my boyfriend was still asleep.  i said hello and then ran into the shower to wash off the night’s events.

i never did tell my boyfriend about it.  two days later, he broke up with me anyway so it was a moot point.

but that was just the start of my adventures with beautiful disaster.

bolster the levee

i’ve been a little MIA the past few days.  i find i’m enjoying the zen silence of my mind, even though it can be unbelievably BORING at times.  i’m slowly introducing people and activities back into my life.  i have to actively suppress the urge to add too much at once. i certainly don’t want to over do it and end up in that depression shit show again.  but old habits die hard.

visited the psychiatrist this morning and begged for some fucking caffeine because i’ve also been pretty sleepy during the day.  she said to try it in moderation.  i’m starting with a sugar free red bull.  does that count?

i balked when she told me that being unable to stay awake past 2am is normal.  is this true?  how is that possible?  it’s also apparently “normal” to need to go back to sleep if you don’t sleep for enough hours.  i slept 5 hours one day and literally HAD to go back to sleep.  i just didn’t set an alarm and slept another 6 hours.  this is bizarre, and it is a little frustrating to be honest because there are already not enough hours in the day!!

i was totally on track to write about something else but then the thought escaped me and it’s gone.  completely gone.  whereas my old self could have used contextual cues to figure out what it was again, these days once a thought leaves the building, it is really gone.  which brings me to another point–and i’m just going to roll with it–that i have been considering an evaluation for ADHD.  losing my train of thought this frequently has made it extraordinarily difficult to hold conversations.  when i meet with research assistants i get lost mid-sentence several times.  it doesn’t exactly look good.

brought this up with the psychiatrist this morning and she let me know that an ADHD diagnosis can’t even be made until my mood stabilizes.  so i essentially have to wait 3-6 months before getting a neuropsych eval.  i mean, of course, i can find some quack who will give me the diagnosis, but given the probability of my bipolar diagnosis slowly edging upward and because i’m on non-trivial medication, i’m uncomfortable at the thought of blithely introducing other medications into the mix.  which is fucking dull, by the way.  i feel like a total square.

it’s like wearing new skin.  and it doesn’t want to take.

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