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!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

paranoid void

I'm not sure where to start writing about this because I'm paralyzed and distracted by fear.  Why? Because of what I don't know.  I wrote yesterday about applying for a volunteer position at a local animal shelter. I now realize just how brave I was to make that move.  I also think if it weren't for the animals I might not have gone through with it.  People scare me.

And what scares me the most about people is when I don't feel like I know what they're doing in relationship to or response to me.  I used to believe that I could read people's minds. It gave me a sense of security - like I always knew what was going on behind my back.  Since that ended, I found myself in an "information void" where I had to try to interact with people based with the information I was presented with my senses - what I saw them do, what I heard them say, etc. and I just have to say that with my paranoia, it's often not enough.  What I don't know for sure, my mind tends to make up and the more I care about something, the worse it gets.

So, today, I was ready for the phone to ring to hear something - anything about my application.  I finally called, just to make sure it got to the right person. I found out the it would be a few days before they got to the business of new volunteers.  Okay, fair enough.  That made me feel a little better.  But I really care about this opportunity and now I just feel like I have no idea what they'll think of my application.  What's going on there? Do they even need my help?  Will something I wrote have been "the wrong thing?"  I dunno.

I mean really, I found myself today thinking, this is exactly why I can't work.  I obsess over approval and I have a fear of rejection. I have an almost constant need for feedback. I need so much communication and emotional support.  I get to this point where if I don't get enough feedback I basically can't function.   And this is just a situation where I'm hoping to be "allowed" to help for free. That's how I see it.  If there were money involved and it had anything to do with my survival I'd be completely flipped out right now.

So, in writing this, I'm trying to get a grip.  I have to be patient. Personally, it helps me to say that it's in God's hands and whatever happens is meant to be.  I have to talk myself down over and over again. And I will, but it will be interesting to see if I can handle this at all.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Will the stigma matter?

I'm trying something new for the first time in 6 years - I'm applying for acceptance into something besides disability or medicaid or some kind of mental health program.  I'm applying for a volunteer position.  It might as well be as nerve-wracking as applying for a job, because, by doctors' orders, I can't work anymore. I just can't handle the stress.  At the same time, I get very little socialization outside my family.  So, my therapist has become adamant that I get involved in some kind of social organization.  I'm too high-functioning for the groups they have at my mental health clinic, but I also don't have any local friends. So, yes, I'm sitting here blogging again.

And that, according to my therapist, is a good thing, but she thinks my psychosis is being exacerbated by a degree of isolation.  In other words, I'm having command hallucinations because I'm too much inside my own head. You just plain need social interaction to stay emotionally well-balanced.  So, today I applied to be a volunteer at a local animal shelter.  I love animals - they're great therapy - and I'd immediately have a love of animals in common with the staff and other volunteers.

So, what's this stigma I'm worried about?  Well, partially it's THE stigma of mental illness, especially schizophrenia.  On the application I actually used the more accurate but less common diagnosis of "schizoaffective disorder" because I didn't want to write down bipolar disorder AND schizophrenia.  *shiver*  But I also have an internal distrust of my own abilities (my own stigma) because I lost several jobs due to my illness.

Tonight, I'm asking myself two things - will they take one look at my application and get freaked out (even though I have a lot of experience and related skills) and can I handle it?  My therapist says just try it out and if it doesn't work out then I just quit.  But will I even get a chance with my illness and a lack of regular availability?  And I don't want to have to quit. I'd really like to be involved in a community of like-minded individuals. But my psychosis does make interactions more complicated for me.

In any case, it's a big step.  There's a giant 6 year gap in my resume (if that even matters anymore). It gives me great "paws" for thought.  Sorry, had to go for the pun.  I'm so nervous.  Maybe I'm worried about nothing, but it doesn't feel like nothing. It feels like a whole lot of something new and potentially awesome and potentially scary.  So, we'll see what transpires.  I do feel brave for even turning in the application and I know that at this point, I should be really proud of that.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

the catch-22 of depression

Everybody gets down sometimes, and at those times, it can be no big deal to "turn the frown upside down." But clinical depression is caused by a neurochemical imbalance, so you need a neurochemical remedy.  That's why meds help. According to the Mayo Clinic, you can tell when depression has become clinical if you have the following symptoms:

Clinical depression symptoms may include:
  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep nearly every day
  • Slowed thinking or movement that others can see
  • Fatigue or low energy nearly every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
  • Loss of concentration or indecisiveness
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
By that check list I've been experiencing the symptoms of clinical depression for a while now. Lately the clinical depression is something I can feel.  I'm not just tired or down. My energy level feels like something sucked me dry.

The natural way to counteract these kinds of symptoms is to boost endorphins - the kind of feel-good chemicals that are released when you laugh, exercise, etc.  The problem is that, for example, when you're weeping, it can be hard to find a reason to laugh and when you're hiding in bed you probably don't feel like exercising.  The depression often keeps you stuck in a downward spiral.

I find that at times like these I have to force myself to try to break the cycle. Meds definitely help, but most of the time, in addition, I have to muster the mental strength to find a way to do something that increases endorphins.  I found a great, simple article on how to boost endorphins on wikiHow -  I know how hard it can be, but if you can manage to get yourself to do even one of these activities, it can help.

I'm not giving up on getting my mood back up.  I'm not being hard on myself, because I know I'm not "doing something wrong," but at the same time I really want to crawl out of this emotional hole I'm in. I've done it before, so many times, and I know if I keep trying I will feel better.

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Hidden Miracle

Do you know what I hear
When you say you have nothing to live for?

I remember me, telling myself,
There was nothing left for me
And trying to end it all.

I couldn't see the path anymore.
Or I thought there was one.
But I wrong.
And only by sheer luck
And the grace of God
Did I get the chance to find that out.

I know so many doors have closed for you.
I know that you're angry, frustrated and afraid.
I was, too.
I was so depressed.
I just couldn't see the point.

But if you can just learn to feel past the pain,
To cope with the losses of things so close to your heart,
You'll find new light.

I can't tell you what that will mean for you,
I just know that when you think you are over,
In your own time,
You have only just begun.

The first steps are the hardest,
But when you walk a little more
You'll be surprised how much joy there is to find.

Different doesn't have to be bad,
But sometimes it has to be.

So, please don't think there is nothing to live for,
Because there is -somehow there is.
The fact may seem hidden now,
But it's a miracle and it's true.

There is so much more to live for than you think right now.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

re-thinking yesterday's take on tumblr.

I think what happened to me when I started reading posts related to mental illness on tumblr. was that I was in shock.  That raw energy was something that was familiar to me, from my younger days, and it just reminded me how hard it is to live with all that pain inside.

I literally wondered if there was something wrong with me because I still have hallucinations telling me to kill myself but I'm not acting out. I'm depressed, so I sleep in for an hour and eat an extra piece of candy, but I'm not getting high and cutting myself.  Somewhere along the line I lucked out and got some kind of a grip.

Granted, I couldn't be this together, lucid and articulate without A LOT of medication, therapy and support, but the point is that after years of suffering in my 20's and 30's, I find myself in my early 40's still standing. I haven't always been this strong, but somehow I've survived and over time things have gotten a bit easier.

The fact is that because the cause of mental illness is still not known, and education in the general public is generally lacking, it takes a lot of trial and error to get stable.  Meds are a stab in the dark and each one works differently for each individual.  Finding a good psychiatrist and therapist who you can really open up to is challenging. And that's all assuming that you are self-aware and able to even ask for help.

Wellness is a never-ending growth process.  In my 20's and 30's I was first so unaware and then so psychotic that I couldn't even accept my diagnosis. But my best friend told me today that I'm reaching a point where I'm becoming self-actualized. In her words,"using Kurt Goldstein's definition - Expressing one's creativity, quest for spiritual enlightenment, pursuit of knowledge, and the desire to give to society - from Wikipedia."  Maybe with age does come wisdom. 

So, I realized that I don't need to "target" my writing to a certain audience, I need to be me.  As much as I'm just one more voice crying in the wilderness, I can be singing, "every little thing's gonna be alright."  I can share what I've learned that has helped me to keep going and staying sober.  I can shine some light on the path.

And so that, is what I will attempt to do.  If you're reading this and you're wondering if it's all worth it, let me tell you that it absolutely is. For some strange reason, it is, and it can get better, so don't give up.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

finding tumblr. is like getting an emotional facelift

I found out that I was old today and that with age has come a measure of - something. Yes, today I had to ask, "what is tumblr.?"  And I found out the answer is that I'm obviously old if I have to ask.

If you don't know about tumblr. you should check it out. It's an amazing site of "micro-blogging."  It's something between this place and twitter and facebook or maybe it's just a mash-up of all of them.  Really, it's brilliant.

But what I've found there so far is pain and grief and frustration and angst.  Reading posts there makes me feel like I've lost my emotional edge.  Maybe by old they mean that my emotions have been "worn smooth" by time.  I feel like this blog is so academic.  I feel like I've been analyzing myself instead of just emoting.  But maybe that's because I did get to a place where I felt like I had a "more mature" attitude toward my illness.  Now, I could "handle" it.

The truth is I get by - or am getting by - despite about 6 weeks of command hallucinations telling me to hurt or kill myself.  I've blogged here about the fact that the docs are at a loss as what to do with me, because I'm already maxed out on my meds.  I see my therapist every week and try to come up with sensible strategies for dealing with my psychosis.

So, why don't I "rage against the machine anymore?"  Why don't I do cutting like I used to?  Why aren't I self-destructive like I used to be?  Is it all an illusion?  Have I really changed or am I repressing my emotions in new ways?  Have I grown up or grown numb?  I don't want to go back to those behaviors, yet I don't feel like I'm really acknowledging my emotions anymore.

All I know is that I've found a new window into the world of mental illness in the world of micro-blogging. It's filled with pure energy. It's raw. It's dirty and painful.  It seethes and oozes with dark emotions.I suppose that could be attributed to youth, but I feel like it's real source is honesty.

Yes, I'm a calmer specimen these days, on my meds and with a strong support system.  But it does pretty much suck out loud to have voices telling you to kill yourself.  It's scary. I am afraid.  I still wonder about what's inside me that others can't see.

I joined tumblr. today and so far I feel like my posts have been really lame.  I feel like I need to remember how to reach inside and find my silenced scream. I'm going to see what happens to me in the sphere of youthful exuberance and soul truth.  Feel free to join me there at

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Bipolar Bear

This is so me today.  I had all these big plans but then I lost all my energy and motivation.  Anyway, this made me laugh.  I did make it out of bed, but my commentary on today is, "zzzzzzz...."  All I can say is that on days like these, I just do the best I can.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Usual Suspect

The usual suspect
Is in my mind.
Shake down the subconscious:
Put my thoughts in the line.
Recognize anything there?
I ask to my conscious,
Who doesn't know,
And doesn't connect
To these ideas.

It could be that somewhere in there
Is the evidence
Who, what, where, when why?
Or the motive -
the original perpetrator.

So many intangibles lurk around
In the hallucination ghetto.
Almost any on of them could fit
The dangerous description
Of the one who did it.

But the fact of it is that the crime
hasn't been established
And paranoia reigns.
Send those subconscious ramblings
Back on along again,
Until the next time.

Friday, February 21, 2014

temporary post - please ignore


What Can Happen When You Get a Little Manic

Impulsivity. That's what happens.  They call it "poor impulse control."  The day before yesterday I was looking through the Yahoo! groups for a group I could relate to and, not finding one quickly, I suddenly decided to start my own group.

Now, this may not seem like a big deal.  It's really easy to start a Yahoo! group.  That was the problem, though.  What's hard is getting one going and maintaining it. I already have a website and this blog to maintain and really, I spend enough time online.

But none of that is the crux of the problem.  I saw my therapist yesterday and told her about the group and talked about how I've been doing and she suggested that I was still a bit on the manic side. You might be asking, "why, just because you started a discussion group online?"  No, but because there was very little thought involved in getting into what could become a big commitment.  When was I going to have the time to promote and moderate this group?  The truth is, I hadn't really given that a second thought.

Still, this may not add up to manic in your mind, but it's, let's say, "a little bit of manic."  I was the only member (LOL) so it was easy enough to simply delete the group. In short, no harm done.  But this is exactly the kind of mindset that leads to a sudden impulse to do anything - and if you're lucky that anything is okay.

The concern is that poor impulse control leads to things like a spur of the moment shopping spree that you can't afford, a drink you shouldn't take, the start of a destructive relationship, or, God forbid, a slash across the wrist, etc.  I got lucky this time because no one got hurt and no damage was done.

I'm on the alert now, though, that I'm in an impulsive mindset and so I'm going to focus on basic daily priorities and try to stay grounded.  Let's hope that helps.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Wellness Chat

***NOTICE: Since this was posted I have discontinued the group described below.  Please read my next post on "What Can Happen When You Get a Little Manic."***

Please come help get the conversation started on my new Yahoo! group.  It's called "Wellness Chat" and you can find it at

I was actually looking for a group that discussed psychological wellness, especially something that would bring in all forms of mental illness and substance abuse.  I wanted there to be a place where folks suffering from these conditions could meet with their advocates and even professionals to help form a kind of online support group.

Most groups I find are either for folks suffering from these conditions or folks discussing about these conditions, but I thought that maybe if there was a place where we could all meet over the topic of maintaining wellness, maybe something positive would spark.

In any case, it's an experiment and an attempt to do something to help others as well as myself.
I hope that you'll come and join and share the word with others who might benefit!

To subscribe, send email to with "subscribe" in the subject.
See you there!

***NOTE: As stated above this group no longer exists.***

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Goals For Today...

These are my new goals for everyday!!!  I'm not sure what progress will always mean, but I try!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Endometriosis and Mood Disorders

Endometriosis, by definition, (Google's) is "a condition resulting from the appearance of endometrial tissue outside the uterus and causing pelvic pain."   According the the National Library of Medicine, it's "a female health disorder that occurs when cells from the lining of the womb (uterus) grow in other areas of the body. This can lead to pain, irregular bleeding, and problems getting pregnant (infertility)."  In short, it's not fun.

In 1992, I had laporoscopy surgery, which confirmed that I had endometriosis.  It was determined to be a mild case at the time (which really makes me wonder what some women with worse cases must go through!).  But it was bad enough.  I don't know how the disease has progressed for me for sure, because I only had the one laporoscopy, which is when they actually insert a camera and look around. However, I can tell you that I've always had irregular and painful periods.

I'm at the end of a cycle today, and I'm finding that although my pain is gone, I'm still agitated.  I'd say I'm being a little testy.  At about this time of month I often wonder how much of my "moodiness" is caused by my hormonal imbalance and how much is caused by by my neurochemical imbalance? To what extent, if any, I wonder, does my endometrial hormonal imbalance exacerbate my bipolar mood swings?  

I did some research on this topic and didn't find anything really satisfying.  It's not uncommon, it seems, for women with endometriosis to have mood disorders as well, but which is the chicken and which is the egg at menstruation time?  I haven't been having mood swings to speak of lately and it's not unusual to be a little down during your period, but I want to know if the endometriosis can kick off some bipolar depression?  

I don't have an answer.  I just know I don't like the way I feel.  And neither one of these conditions (endometriosis or bipolar disorder) have a clear cause. Both are thought to be genetic, but there is no cure.  I would like to see more research done on the relationship between these hormonal and neurological imbalances.

Monday, February 17, 2014

How do I know when I'm "in the clear?"

Really, I'm asking myself today, how do I know when a bout of psychosis is "over?"
Does that even mean anything?

I know that what I mean specifically is this phase of hearing commands to kills myself.  They don't make sense, I don't pay them any mind, I do everything I can to ignore them and yet, last night again I was hearing a repetitive "just shoot yourself."  It would be funny in a different context as I have no way (or desire) to literally do it.

I'm assuming that this is a phase because I've gone through phases of this before, but usually they come with a med change, and as I've stated previously, I'm pretty well maxed out on my meds.  My doctor told me that if I start to lose a grip I could take another half, or even whole, Haldol, but I haven't needed to do that.

It's just like these hiccups I had today - I know somehow I flipped my diaphram and that's all that was going on (just like my neurochemistry being skewed causes me to hallucinate). I knew that in all likelihood that the hiccups would pass, (although I heard about someone once who had hiccups for 8 years).  But each time I thought they were gone they kept coming back for almost an hour. Eventually I ignored them long enough and they went away.  I really hope that happens sooner than later with these command hallucinations.

I can't help but to think of Simon and Garfunkel's "Hazy Shade of Winter:"

"Hang on to your hopes, my friend 
That's an easy thing to say, but if your hope should pass away 
It's simply pretend 
That you can build them again"

  I will be patient and believe in the "springtime of my life."

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Review: Psych Central

Psych Central

Psych Central – Mental health & psychology information and support

This is a shameless plug for a great online resource, which I've been using now for over a year, but since they were kind enough to add a link to this blog, I want to do them a solid and get out the message about them to more people.  You can also find them on the links page of my website.

I first stumbled onto their site because I was looking for chat forums where I could connect with other people who are working through similar circumstances.  I found a huge collection of well run forums on both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.  At the time, I didn't realize that they were responsible for a vast amount of resources to help with all kinds of psychological issues.

One of their best features, IMHO, is their Medication Library, where you can found out everything you wanted to know about common psychiatric drugs from their effects to how to save on costs.

Really, I could go on, but just take a minute to check them out:  They're one of the best resources online for mental health and substance abuse issues.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Climate Change and Mental Ilness

All this thinking about the crappy weather lately has me thinking about climate change. That, and I finally watched "The Lorax" yesterday (which I highly recommend). I was an environmental activist for years and while I'm not exactly "active" in the cause anymore, I'm still pro-environment. That expression is bizarre though, if you think about it, because how can you NOT be "for" your habitat?

In any case, the weather has been extreme lately.  It's not just about global warming, although the Earth's atmosphere is, in general, warming, it's also about the effect of desertification -the Earth is becoming more desert-like in it's extremes of heat and cold.  We're having much less of the "temperate" in the temperate zones (less spring-like and fall-like conditions).  Not to mention all the unusual natural disasters which have been stressors for so many people.

What concerns me about this is that natural disasters and weather extremes are hard on people psychologically.  I found this great article about "Climate Change and Mental Health, which speaks directly to this condition.  I knew I wasn't alone feeling like this winter was too much, but I'm now thinking about how it's going to be getting so much worse.

What I've noticed though, is that by identifying the problem for me this winter, I'm starting to feel better.  In some of my recent posts I've been talking about hearing command hallucinations that may be related to a kind of "cabin fever."  It's been about 4 days now since I've heard any of these voices.

The bigger picture here may be awareness that changes in climate are effecting all of us and those of us who have lower thresholds for stress need to take care of our emotional health when things get tough.  It may be helpful to do a self-assessment to find out what types of thoughts and activities help you the most with this kind of stress.  And while you're at it, take time to appreciate the good weather when it comes along.

Friday, February 14, 2014

50 Shades of Love

Sweet nothingness -
A wistful thought of what has been,
A curious hope for what may be,
I try to hold on.

These days, they say, mean so little,
Yet everywhere, we celebrate them.
It's not important, I'm told.
Then why does it matter to me?

When I think about love
I think about the divine
The love that is us all
The one that creates and looks to see.

We wander through ourselves and each other,
Finding ways to express what no one can know.
The anthropic principle:
Life exists to share it's light.

From the smallest act of kindness
To the greatest self-sacrifice
That which we seek is within us
Yet needs connection to be complete.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

the depression / anger axis

So, I learned something today from my psychiatrist, who has her own theory about why I've been hearing commands to kill myself.  Although, I'm happy to say, I haven't heard anything along those lines in a couple of days now.

A couple of days ago I was talking about how I basically felt trapped in the house by the terrible winter weather - my own personal "igloo mindset."  But I've also talked about how my family's life has been changed by my Dad's heart failure last year and the stress of helping him to keep up a decent quality of life. Not to mention the everyday stresses that I just don't handle well.  My therapist always reminds me that I have a low threshold for stress.

Well, so all that adds up to a round of depression.  I have said though, that this represents more than just the typical seasonal downer that is winter. Because of my psychosis, my psyche is fragile and that kind of stress and depression going on for so long can turn into anger.  My doctor taught me today how depression and anger are closely linked.  You get depressed, then frustrated about it and before you know it, you're into anger. In my case, she feels this anger has been bubbling up in my subconscious.

Now, why does that translate into commands to kill myself?  The anger has to be aimed somewhere and in this case, for whatever reason, it's turned inward.  My theory about that from previous rounds of suicidal ideation is that when you feel unable to change your life, it seems like a way of gaining control, of ending the pain. Obviously, that is not the way to go!

I truly hope that by realizing this, maybe my mind will start to heal.  My doc said to do things I enjoy - try to have fun.  I'm doing the best I can under the circumstances.  The weather is supposed to change and get warmer next week, which should help, too.  We'll see if the voices remain quiet.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Terrangrrl's Webs

Since I'm trying to get back in sync with my online projects, I'd like to invite you to re/visit my website at

I'm always looking for links to resources for mental health and substance abuse recovery.  Please feel free to drop by and comment!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Igloo Mindset

So, my therapist has a theory about what stress could be causing my serious hallucinations.  She noted a theme of a kind of "entrapment" lately.  I do feel kind of trapped inside the house. I'm sure I'm not alone. For most of the country, this winter has been harsh to say the least. 

But, for me, it seems to be a bit more than the "winter blues" or even seasonal effective disorder.  My first problem is that I live in the suburbs and I don't drive.  That in itself is a constant source of frustration, so little things like getting out with someone else driving or just taking a walk mean so much.  Well, it probably won't surprise you that I haven't been out doing much walking and my family has been avoiding going out for the most part.  

It's hard, and again, I know I'm not alone, but it's just been wave after wave of cold and snow.  It makes me feel like I live in a little igloo trying to stay warm. Now, I'm not complaining about living in a home and having heat, but could it just be Spring already?

There's really no way to be sure if that's why I'm so stressed. But, I wonder. So, here's a haiku for today:

Frozen Neurons

Cold and snow abound
No where to go but online
Is this why I write?

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Voices Don't Mean Anything

That's what they tell me.  The voices don't mean anything.  No matter how much they seem to make sense or strike up a fascinating conversation, no matter how eloquent they are, no matter how nice or how disturbing, they just don't mean anything.  Let me tell you something - that is so hard to grasp when you're hearing them.

The voices in my head always sound like haunting whispers.  They have their own personality.  They tend to be sarcastic.  They do not come across like my conscious personality. And they tend to be pejorative.  I wouldn't pick them to be friends.

Why I'm writing this now is because I'm struggling with a certain kind of hallucination called a command.  It basically means you hear or see something that indicates that you should think or do something. Yep, those are the dangerous ones.

Now, I'm in a peculiar place. I'm hearing commands from time to time. Not all the chatter I here on a regular basis is a command.  However, sometimes in the past few weeks I've been hearing commands to kill myself.  Now, if you're a professional in the field of psychiatry, you may be asking yourself, why am I not back in the hospital already?

The truth is that I'm in a predicament with my meds.  I'm finally back on what seems to be the best formula for me.  It keeps me functional. Daily I take 40mg of Abilify, 80mg of Prozac, 5mg of Haldol and 3mg of Klonapin.  If you know psych meds, you know that means I'm maxed out. About the only thing I could do in an emergency would be to take a bit more Haldol, but you can't stay at that dose because it's not safe.

The other thing is that no one thinks I'm a danger to myself.  The last time this happened it was straight into the hospital, but I'm honestly not intending to harm myself in any way.  Everyone in my support system knows this.  I hear these commands but they are just annoying and unnerving - they don't move me.

So, I keep reporting to everyone in my support system when I hear them and how I feel and I move on. I try to ignore them, but it's admittedly a somewhat tenuous place to be in.  Trying completely new anti-psychotics is not an option because I would most certainly become unstable.  So will they go away? What's bringing them on?  Will I get worse?  Who knows?  In the meantime I'll try to do this blog, because it seems to help.

My Mindscape Starting 2014

If you've been a reader of this blog in the past, I truly thank you for your patience.  I really didn't know if I was going to get back to this at all for a while.  If you're new to this blog, welcome! I hope that it interests you maybe even helps.

Why has it been 6 months+ since I wrote here? Well, last year turned out to be a bit rough. I spent about a week in the hospital in the late spring after I had just really gotten the blog thing going.  I didn't know how to talk about it.  Of all the things that you'd think would be "interesting" it just wasn't. It was sad.  It's rough on family and friends.  Why was I in this time? (for my 5th hospitalization?) There 's only one reason they lock you up. They assess you and deem you potentially dangerous to yourself and / or others.  What went wrong? Something in my brain.  In retrospect it seems like changes in my meds caused stress which led to my breakdown.

Then, just about the time I wanted to start writing again, my Dad had a heart attack and ended up changed forever. I managed a couple of posts there in July, but I decided that if I was going to blog, I'd be really off topic because all I'd be talking about is how my father's decline in health had effected me.  It wouldn't have been pretty redundant for a long time: this sucks.  Then as my father slowly regained some strength due to a new medication regimen it would have been differently redundant: this sucks a little less.

In short, last year sucked, and may have not been the best time to start blogging.  Or maybe it was just the right time, because it's when I was inspired.  In any case, my daily life is totally different because Dad really isn't independent anymore.  He can do some basic things for himself, but he needs a lot of support, too.

My therapist, who feels I'm a bit manic lately, has nudged me gently to keep writing this blog when I felt like I could.  I have some new issues for the new year, so, "why not share?" is kind of where I'm at.

Please join me here and feel free to comment!