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!