Monday, March 24, 2014

Forgive Me the Moment

You raced, you chased -
Misguided your intention.

I flew, I fell
In your general direction.

Forgive me the moment,
Forgive me the moment - we shared.

In ecstasy,
We rolled without protection.

We swore, we prayed,
We killed our own creation.

Forgive me the moment,
Forgive me the moment - we shared.

I lost my soul,
Without an intervention.

You stole, depraved.
Articulate licention.

Forgive me the moment,
Forgive me the moment - we shared.

I tried to die,
You left quite an impression.

I lost my mind,
Forgetting just to mention -

Forgive me the moment,
Forgive me the moment - we shared.

- 03.24.14

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Technically Spring!

Okay, so I celebrated today in my heart - it's officially Spring. But this is just one of those years when Winter drags on long after it's welcome.  I'm kind of like, "Spring? Yep, I'll believe it when I see it."

I was reading some articles lately on how climate change is effecting mental health is general for the worse.  Now, I know, someone is reading this and thinking, "but doesn't this kind of Winter debunk global warming?"

Not a chance. Climate change is making our whole planet more desert-like. The extremes are all more extreme.  Just wait, 6 months from now we'll all be complaining it's too HOT to go outside!

But for now, I'm looking for the flowers to bloom.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sober St. Patrick's Day

For those of us who need to stay clean and sober all the time, I know that this veritable "drinking holiday" can be a tough one to get through. And if you've got the Irish gene, like I do, alcoholism runs in your veins. I just want to say, that no matter what happens today, or what kind of peer presssure (or as we used to call it, "beer pressure") you feel, you can stay strong.

Here's my honest situation.  My interview for the volunteer gig at the animal shelter today got cancelled.  The person who was supposed to interview me is out due to a medical emergency. I got the call this morning. Now, maybe there's some reason why this was "lucky" after all. Only time will tell.  But if it weren't for all the people supporting me, I have a half a mind to get drunk and stay drunk until I get the word that they're ready to reschedule.

Why would I react like that? I'm fighting paranoia that they don't really want me there and staying inebriated tends to separate you from your thoughts.  Well, at least if you're as drunk and distracted as I would like to be.

But instead, I'm doing my best to take things at face value and relax about everything.  An interview for anything is nerve-wracking and I have to remember that I'm not alone in that feeling.  Also, I know by now that I'm stronger than that and really, anything can become an excuse to get wasted if you want one.

So, here's my blessing for a peaceful, joyful and sober St. Patrick's day for all of us who don't need to be drinking: may you never drink another drop, for one you start you may not stop!

Amen. And Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Long Overdue Review: "Silver Linings Playbook"

I actually saw "Silver Linings Playbook" last year and never got around to writing about it.  I think it's a very important movie.  I will try to write about it without spoiling anything in case you haven't seen it.

One of the reasons I so identify with the movie, especially the character of Tiffany, played by Jennifer Lawrence, who won an Oscar for her performance, is that the characters are so high-functioning, yet average.  Normally when you see mental illness in movies it's because it manifests in some spectacular way by people who are not living "normal lives."  I think about characters like Hannibal Lector, the infamous cannibal in "Silence of the Lambs" as your stereotypical "bad crazy person." And even in two of my favorite movies about mental illness, "A Beautiful Mind" and "Fight Club" the characters, who are both schizophrenic, are "larger than life" with a fine line drawn between brilliance and madness.

In SLP, the main characters, Pat and Tiffany (who are both bipolar in my estimation, although Tiffany's illness is never identified) are two things you don't normally see in films about mental illness: they are high-functioning and just just sort of everyday people.  True, their illnesses impact their lives in negative ways - they both act out in inappropriate ways at times, but they are aware that they are "out of bounds" and continue to struggle with everyday life.

In one of my favorite scenes (and I hope this doesn't spoil anything) Pat and Tiffany are talking about their experiences with different medications and their side-effects and it sounded like a conversation I've had so many times.  I mean, that's what you do when you're being treated for mental illness when you meet other people who are mentally ill - you talk about your treatment and what you're going through.  And I knew the names of the meds and the symptoms they discussed and thought, "That's right!"

In terms of being an inspiration, I found SLP's down-to-earth approach to be so refreshing.  And, I think, the actual "spectacularness" of the story is the way author Matthew Quick and writer / director David O. Russell actually pull together the whole romantic comedy around the characters without being stereotypical, but by keeping it real.   I would recommend this movie to anyone, especially if you want to see how while love can be "crazy" it can also help us find ourselves.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

mood swing whiplash

I will be the first to admit that I ride an emotional roller coaster.  It takes very little stress to drop me and very few happy thoughts to bounce me back up.  This is probably true to a certain extent for most people, but it's really like the difference between emotional hills and mountains.

Lately I've been writing about my "search for socialization."  I've been getting command hallucinations telling me to kill myself for close to two months now, and the verdict from my therapist is that I need to get out of my own head and socialize more. I hadn't realized just how hard this is for me to do with new people until I put in an application to volunteer at a local animal shelter.  I didn't hear back from them yesterday like I was supposed to, so I completely freaked out and gave up on the idea completely.  I decided instead that I just needed some plain old group therapy.

So, today, I check my email and I'm being invited to interview at the shelter after all.  Yep, yesterday I said that I couldn't handle it no matter what happened, but instantly I started thinking about being able to help the animals and I was enthusiastic - a little bit hesitantly - but enthusiastic again.  I wrote back and set up an interview for St. Patrick's Day Monday for good luck.

Just for balance though, and in case it really doesn't work out at the shelter, I did go ahead and get my therapist to give me a referral to one of the support groups at the clinic.  I chose the LGBT group, because it's really just where I belong and I have a much easier time making connections within the queer community. I'm expecting to hear from the group coordinator at some point soon to get some more details.

And tonight?  I feel fine.  I've gone from the pit of despair to a kind of even keel.  I'm definitely not exuberant, but I am excited to now have two possibilities opening.  However, as my therapist pointed out today, I'm now more aware of how stressed I get when I move outside of my comfort zone and new people and situations definitely qualify.   We're not sure if the stress is going to exacerbate the psychosis, but since a healthy level of stress - of challenge - is a good thing and it may reduce my psychosis, I'm going to check these situations out.

Most of what goes on in psychiatry and psychology is experimental. It's hit and miss. No one knows enough how the brain works, let alone how an individual brain works, to be sure how to handle certain aspects of mood swings and psychosis.  This is another trial run.  We'll see what unfolds.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Okay, I Officially Can't Handle It

So, I've done some writing in the past week about how I applied to volunteer at a local animal shelter.
They have officially not contacted me by the time they said they would and I have to admit that this is just too stressful for me.  Even if I heard from them now, I'd have to turn them down because I can not do the lack of feedback / communication thing.  But I'm pretty sure that they took one look at my application and thought, "um, no."  And that was about it.

Now I'm not "giving up" on volunteering because one thing fell through, but I came to a realization that I was in over my head.  Maybe it was the stigma that did me in with the shelter and maybe it wasn't, but I have to admit to myself that I just need more interaction and less responsibility. Part of me thinks that I could have handled it - but this is what it is - and I can't.  So, that's that.

It's ironic because all the talk between me and my support network has always been that I was too high functioning to join the groups at the clinic where I go for therapy.  Intellect and emotional IQ, I find, are suddenly two very different things to me.  You might think I'm okay because I do this blog, but I'm just an experienced writer.  I can do this alone - it's my shout out to the world.  But when it comes to interacting with people directly, I need so much more support.

It took this fail to help me realize that I'm not beyond group therapy. In fact, I just may finally be ready for it again.  I used to go to groups, but I never really connected or opened up much.  I think that the next thing that I need to do is go back to my therapist and suggest that my much needed social interacting come from some extended group therapy.

Yes, I feel rejected, but I'm using this as a teachable moment.  My heart reads "handle with care."

Friday, March 7, 2014

Hints of Spring in the Air

The temperature got up into the mid-40's today and there is a lack of chill in the breeze.  I have my window cracked a bit and just feeling the outside air in the house is such a relief!

I know that it isn't quite over yet, but there seems to be some hope, finally, after a long and crappy winter.

I'm not sure if I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) but I've definitely been depressed and fatigued and plagued by cabin fever.  Most people get at least a little down during the winter months.  Some of us get hit harder than others.  I think if you're already prone to depression, winter just sucks the life out of you.

But I'm looking at the forecast and seeing more temperatures over freezing, daylight savings starts tomorrow night and Spring is just around the corner.

So if you've been having a rough time of it, please hang in there with me - we're almost there!