janus – faced: on being bipolar

Dear Internet,

As I started prepping today’s piece, it struck me as I am also a gemini and if you’re hip to astrology, geminis are dual natured. I don’t think you could make my life any more hamfisted or obvious.

So today is World Bipolar Day! Last year, I discovered the cause a day after it occurred — which is always my luck. Since I’m so prolific about writing about my mental state of being, I thought I would take today’s entry and point out some of the resources, blogs, and books that I use to keep my brain in check.

A few disclaimers.

  1. I am not a doctor or a therapist. I cannot treat or diagnose your brain. What I write on this site is what works for me (including drugs, more of which I’ll go into in a sec), so for the love of fuck do not take my experiences as the end all, be all of being bipolar.
  2. Bipolar is, in short, a chemical imbalance in the brain. Unlike things like anxiety or borderline personality disorder, which are managed by talk therapy, it is nearly impossible to function without some kind of drug therapy, in addition to talking therapy. Yes, yes, I know people have said they manage without drug therapy (or talking therapy) and those people who are successful at managing without any type of therapy, successfully, is tiny. Like really, really, tiny.
  3. I implore you not to self-medicate.
  4. There are several different types of bipolarism. I am bipolar 1.
  5. Bipolar is typically comorbid, which means you can be bipolar AND have anxiety AND so on. I am bipolar 1 with anxiety, adhd, and borderline personality disorder.
  6. FOR THE LOVE OF FUCK DO NOT DIAGNOSE YOURSELF ON THE INTERNET AND I DON’T CARE IF YOU USED THE MAYO CLINIC / WEBMD / OR SOME OTHER KIND OF REPUTABLE SITE. You can get recommendations from your general physician, your insurance company or in Google: psychiatrist “name of your city” to get a listing of shrinks in your area. You’re going to want a medicating shrink for your drugs and a talking shrink for your talk therapy. Some doctors can do both. They will diagnose you and work out a treatment plan for you.

The below are resources / books I use or have used and found success with in my management of my brain. I am listing mainly bipolar stuff and US based sites. I have found in my searches for “bipolar” or “bipolar blogs”, up comess lots and lots of academic-y pieces on the disorder or links to sites like WebMD with explanations of the disorder but not much after that. I have also found a few sites that were more about snake oil then providing resources or information.

Which brings me to: Be weary of sites that always want to sell you something like, “How I cured Bipolar in 10 Easy Steps” and that kind of crap. If someone wants to sell you their life story on them and bipolar, that’s one thing, but the rest is mostly snake-oil.

Now the recommendations. (Amazingly, to me, the Reddit subreddit for bipolar is pretty chill.)

Mine

  • Pinterest board where I’ve started curating mental health stuff website
  • Article at MindBodyGreen, “I’ve Had Bipolar Disorder For 20 Years. Here’s How I’ve Learned To Manage It” website
  • EpbaB tags bipolar | bipolar maniamentally healthy

Reources

Blogs

Books


I am a:  LibrarianWriter. Nerd. Geek. Sassy.  Pug owner. World traveler. Pierced. Tattooed. Tall.Music and book lover. Discriminating Guinness taster. Aging, alternative hipster. Eco-conscious. Equally in love with James Bond, Jane Austen, and Doctor Who.

I am not the sum of my diagnosis.

My brain is broken but I am not.

I am more the sum of my parts and so are you.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 1999

 

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thursday the pug (and other accouterments)

thursday

Dear Internet,

Meet Thursday the pug.

How she came into my possession: after Wednesday died on February 1, 2014, TheExHusband1 made the executive decision not to get another dog for awhile so we could enjoy “time together,” which as most of you know did not pan out. (He now believes if he would have let me get another pug we would still be married. I don’t know how I feel about this statement but I do think maybe my life would have changed significantly if that had happened. )

Since I was hopping across the US for the last year, getting a dog seemed impossible but it was on the list of things to do once I get settled. TEH suggested getting another pug would help my cycling since I would then have something stable in my life. I applied to two local pug rescues, was interviewed by both (and references checked). Within a week of acceptance of one, they contacted me as a 2.5 yo fawn female named Molly who just came into their possession and was available. She’s a pure breed bred to be a show dog candidate or as a breeding dog. She’s cage trained, house trained, and is probably one the most active pugs I’ve ever met. (She will walk a mile before she pees. Hello weight loss.) I’ve renamed her Thursday and in the 48 hours I’ve had her, she’s stolen my heart.2


Other accouterments:

tardishat

I’ve been knitting like a fiend. I finished a scarf, a cowl (of my own design), and the above repeating TARDIS beanie (pattern here) within the space of about a week and a half. I’ve had requests to do the beanie for other people (I’m just charging them for the cost of the yarn), so that’s going to keep me busy for the next few weeks.


USPS and I have been having words about the holiday cards. First they were sent back and USPS demanded another .22 cents to compensate for the unusual size. After sending out those cards, another stack came back with demands the envelopes were too small, then a third stack came back, the ones with the added postage, with the same bitchin’ about the too small envelopes. I found a pattern online for USPS approved envelopes and handmade nearly 40 of them and shipped them out. People have been reporting the cards are coming through just fine this time around, which to be honest thank fuck because I’ve had it up to my knee caps with this USPS business.


I aced, I think, my phone interview with the Connecticut university and I hope to hear from them sometime this week about a second interview if they are following the plan they laid out on recruitment. My in-person interview with the Louisville college is this upcoming week and I’m a titch nervous. I’ve started working on my presentation, which will be 30-45 minutes long, last week which is so unusual for me as I’m typically a wait to the last minute kind of girl.

All appendages crossed something comes out of the two in terms of a job offer.


I’ve been writing in a paper journal these last few weeks rather than updating here. When I’m writing here, as open as people think I am, I self-censor a lot. Mostly I repeat a lot of things over and over in the paper journal which goes back to how I work things out. I try to go through and look at things at every angle and work out the hows, whys, and the possible outcomes. It makes my brain and myself feel better on what has gone down AND I can free write. I finally filled a journal I have been carrying around for the last five years, starting on journal number two. Journal number two was purchased last year to work out who I wanted to be with (TheBassist or TheExHusband) and I decided to keep those pages in as a reminder not everything can be boiled down to black and white. There are always a lot of grays in the world.

It’s also a good reminder sometimes feelings are just that – feelings. It’s not about being bipolar or having some mental deficit but about being human. Sometimes there is joy, sometimes there is heartache, and all of the time you are living.


I’ve been keeping up with my work out mentioned a few weeks ago, with week four starting this week. It’s two minutes at easy walking pace and then the pace is nearly doubled for six minutes resulting in eight minute sets until I hit the two mile mark, five times a week. I’m working up a sweat, which is a very good thing considering I have to work twice as hard to generate even a glisten. I’ve cut out the sugar and reined in the dairy, though I’ve cheated on the dairy because pizza! (Have you had vegan cheese? It’s an abomination unto the good lord.) Due to these changes, I’ve lost seven pounds in the last two weeks. I’ll keep on this until after the holidays and then start with the calorie count.

A post has been started with pictures of me at my heaviest weight (with a side and frontal view) to track how my body looks with every 25 or so lost pounds. TEH was very adamant this was a bad idea for unspecific reasons. When I find posts like this on blogs, I love the inspiration they give for me to want to do better on my exercising and eating habits. Fuck’em.


I’ve started seeing a clinician a few weeks ago and there is currently a kerfuffle with my scripts: I’m covered with insurance instead of a co-pay, I’m getting the full cost of the drugs when I go to pick them up. The pharmacy keeps rejecting the script with the nonsense I’m not active in my insurance (false) and my clinician is not authorized to prescribe in Kentucky (also false). This struggle has been on going for the last two weeks and it’s frustrating as fuck. Thankfully I have/had nearly a month’s script left for me to make it through until this gets settled. I cannot and will not go drug free again.

The clinician and I are having words about Klonopin: He says it’s addictive, rattling off loads of celebrities who have died from Klonopin abuse, and I’ve proven I can handle the script just fine as my current script is from November 2014. I cannot imagine my world without Klonopin though he says he will give me a non-benzo version of an anti-anxiety drug. As of this week, I’ve got him talked into giving me a script of Klonopin in the next few weeks if ONLY THE FUCKING PHARMACY WOULD STOP DICKING AROUND.

The clincian requested blood work from me after my first appointment and the results came back: I scored perfect on thyroid, cholesterol, live and kidney functions, and I’m not pre-diabetic (which continues to shock me since both sides of my family have diabetes going back to the dawn of time). He said he’s never seen anyone with such excellent numbers on anything before.

SUCK IT FAT HATERS.

In other mental health news, I have my first appointment with my therapist on Monday which, thank fuck, I need so much. There is only so much exorcising one can do in digital and print journals. Plus getting a third point of view into my life who is not directly involved will be awesome.

This mental health check-up has prompted me to add contacting the DBSA sometime this week to start attending their regular meetings.


Who knew I had so much to say?

xoxo,
Lisa

1.TEH and I are not back together. There was some concern as I’m crashing at his pad I jumped back into a relationship with him. Have not and no intention to do so. The money I’m borrowing is going to be paid back once I get a job. Pinky swear.
2. If you want to increase your friend likes on any social media site, add cute photos of animals. True facts.

This Week in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2011, 1998

things I have written

Dear Internet,

It’s been a busy week over here in Lisa-Universe. For starters, the written word pieces I mentioned a few weeks ago, published. The first piece, “How To Divorce Your Mother In Three Easy Steps,” is available over at WittyBitches.com. The piece proved to be pretty popular.

Preen.
Preen.

That was pretty exciting.

The second piece published, for No Flying, No Tights, is a review of a new manga series, Manga Classics, which specializes in classic books translated into visual prose. My first review, Manga Classics: Emma, is now up! I interviewed the author, Stacy King, yesterday (I’m currently transcribing a 45 minute video call into text. Oi!), which will be published sometime in the next few weeks. The nice thing about doing reviews of this calibre is the publisher is sending on books from the current collection for me to read and review. I adore that this job has a lot of perks.

This, of course, means I got to update my bibliography and resume. I’ve also added a few sample clips that I churned out this week for writing jobs. It’s nice to see published pieces from places that I do not own. This has been, in the writing world, a pretty awesome week.

I’m on the East Coast now and have been for the last few weeks. The whole reason I am here is to go job hunting, which — isn’t happening. I’ve had nary an interview or even a phone call since I’ve been here; it’s incredibly frustrating. I’m forming plans, as I always do, but what I can tell you is I am mentally and emotionally exhausted. While I don’t necessarily feel as if I’m at the end of my rope, I do feel as if I’m running up against walls.

If it were not for the published pieces, I don’t know how I would feel.

In order to keep myself relevant, I’ve been teaching myself to code. I know, I know, I’ve been on the offense in regards to coding not the only thing in the tech world. But as more and more positions I’m interested in start to advertise they want coders of varying degrees, it was time to bit the bullet and get with the program.

I’m constructing my entire education around various coding classes I bought over at Stack Social and Udemy. I’m also looking into Code Academy for additional classes.

The thing that is having me chomping at the bit is where I’m located, there is nay a place for women coders to hang out. Interestingly there is very few social clubs for programmers as a whole. I’m only a short train ride away from NYC and yet this area is a wasteland. I’m working on finding online spaces for women to get together and that has also been slow going.

It’s all a wait and see game, one of which I have grown weary.

MINI watch

In other good news, I took Jeeves in for an alignment this week and the wait was three hours longer than they had quoted me — so the manager gave me a MINI watch. With my MINI car collection (nearly a dozen and growing), my world domination of MINI is coming to fruition.

Mentally? I’m doing – okay. Not 100% great but not down in the dumps either. I’ve long correlated my mania is a tip off of my hormones racing at the beginning of my period but this is one thing I find I cannot 100% control. Hell, even 50% control. My feelings of sadness, anxiety, and loss of overall control have very realistic seeds and I have to keep reminding myself of those things are natural, not disease based, things.

I’m seeing a therapist now and I have signed up with the local Depression Bipolar Support Alliance group, giving me a support system in place. I’m also mediating daily — I’m on a 37 day streak! But I still feel anxious most of the time, I’ve got a new fear of driving, which is apparently not unusual but it makes for interesting dichotomy in regards to the fact I’ve been driving for over 20 years, including several coast to coast trips. Why now? It’s a new thing, for sure, but why and what is what perplexes me.

Therapy better fucking help. I’ve got things to do.

The therapist and I talked about my hyper-sexuality and the coinciding factor I do not get a lot of pleasure out of the sex act itself. She pointed out, with my sexual history, by initiating and fucking someone first, I’m in control (as opposed to previous experiences where my control was taken from me). Once those words tumbled out of her mouth, suddenly everything clicked into place and I sighed a huge sigh of relief. I no longer had to be the goddess of fuck anymore — and that in and of itself is freeing.

xoxo,
Lisa

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This day in Lisa-Universe: 2012, 2010, 2003