love notes into the ether

I am finding myself more reluctant to write about my experiences because of the shame that is so attached to those who are mentally ill. I could not bare, at the darkest time of my adult life, letting those wounds get picked on even by those who were doing it out of love. It is so exhausting these days just being.

If you’re an email subscriber, you may have received an email for learning to breathe / projection, which was written and to be published in April 2016 but it didn’t get posted for some reason so it got posted now. I cannot turn off publishing to email on a per post basis so if you sometimes get a deluge of emails from me, it means I’m going through and publishing old posts.

A couple of weeks ago I launched Excessively Diverting1, an all Jane Austen all the time (with the occasional Brontë) blog with the main reason as I am taking front end web development classes, I needed a project and durr, Jane Austen. There is so much news on our Jane, I am spoilt for blog posts and that is not including the long list of ideas I could write about. The blog is the little blog that could and if you’re a fan of our Jane, please do give the blog a read as it would be much appreciated.

It is a sunny Sunday afternoon and I’m finding myself at loose ends today. While I woke up late, I was able to finish the bulk of my chores shortly after noon and I’ve been looking for something to do since then which is hilarious, in its own way, as I’ve got plenty to do such as finish reading the chapters due this week for Mansfield Park or working on homework for the aforementioned front end web dev classes. Yet, I do not find myself attracted to these things right now and it should be noted I’ve been getting tired of my laptop as of late. Everything I must do or have to do stems from working online and oh gods, why? I’ve been online 22 years and it never fails to amaze me how the internet works but I get so tired of it from the news, the gossip, and the work I just want to move to a tiny island and be surrounded books such as this:

(If you’re not familiar with this episode of The Twilight Zone, Burgess Meredith plays a nebbish bank teller who survives a nuclear fall out as he was reading in the vault of his bank when the bomb hits. Realising he is alone, he contemplates suicide before noticing the public library is now all his. Then he steps on his glasses. So I want this but sans the glasses breaking.)
So I take short breaks and do a lot of self-care and while sometimes it doesn’t seem to be enough, it does satiate my need for some offline time.
(And yet, YET!, I find myself here writing this post on, you guessed it, my laptop.)

We went home to Grand Rapids for the holidays and I had a lovely lady date day with several of my closest friends. As I love all of them equally, I cannot play favorites but this one is one of my favorites and she asked why wasn’t I writing a book on being mentally ill, specifically bipolar, since it would help so many people such as how it helped her to understand from the live in your face blog of a mentally ill person.
Truth be told, this is something I’ve been thinking about for some time but haven’t verbalized and it is something I’m still on the fence about. Since my nervous breakdown in October 2015, I am finding myself more reluctant to write about my experiences because of the shame so attached to those who are mentally ill (yet I have no problem banging on about it on Twitter, which is beyond public, so there is that). I could not bear, at the darkest time of my adult life, letting those wounds get picked on and over even by those who were doing it out of love. It is so exhausting these days just being that writing about it gives me a headache and a very desperate need to curl up with a good book, hot tea, and a pug by my side with TEH close by.
But oh! My dear, dear readers – I find myself in self-flagellated mode on this topic because wouldn’t now be the perfect time to write while emotions are high and the feelings are low and yet I look at this website on occasion with some disdain. Jesus, how time has changed in 20 years since this little website became a reality where then I would bare my breasts with nipples hard and prominent with a giving no fucks attitude and now I gave you a brief glimpse of my cleavage and demurely mention how lovely you look.

When TEH and I were buying Throbbing Manor in the winter of 2010, the seller was being a fuck twat and jerking us around. TEH and I were living in long stay hotel, our things in storage, and we were very desperate to move into the house. One day while at the hotel, something got in my eye and instead of a cool, “Oh, I must get this thing out of my eye” like some rational person, I went from “OH MY GOD, SOMETHING IS IN MY EYE” to “I AM DYING OF EYE CANCER” and no amount of consoling from TEH soothed my anxiety beast. It took a Klonopin to calm me down and lull me to sleep before I found myself the following day feeling fresh as a dewed daisy and not the least bit anxious.
We laugh about this episode now but it is used as the barometer of my feelings for that particular day. There’s been more times of late where I have scurried into the kitchen to grab my Klonopin because my anxiety was so high and no amount of meditation / breathing / yoga / self-care was bringing me down. I will yell “EYE CANCER!” in a high voice so TEH knows why I scuttling to the kitchen naked but for a towel wrap around my wet hair.

EYE CANCER used to happen every three or four months but now it’s moving to a near weekly basis. Frustration for a lack of money, job, possible loss of insurance (Thanks, Trump!),  mental health in peril some days, and the lack of snow in Louisville (truly) is taking its toll. Feeling frustrated is normal for these are normal things to feel frustrated about but my fucking brain — fucking gods my brain! — takes it to a whole new level and there are days I am so frustrated with my brain rather than my situation I want to get ECT to make it all go away. TEH and my therapists are against this method, I am, ha ha ha, still too high functioning to even consider such a thing and, well, my meds are rather working at the moment, so, why the need?

Before we started dating (or whatever the fuck you want to call what we were doing), TheBassist was hospitalized for deep depression and is in year two or three of recovery yet he still often finds himself exhausted by daily life to such a degree he still needs naps in the afternoon. I thought this was ridiculous — if you can play gigs at bars on the weekends, you can get a damned job.
Ha. Ha. Ha. The jokes on me! I now find myself in the same position where if I do more than one thing a day, even seeing my therapist counts, I need to take a break from the world. Being mentally ill is not only expensive but it is exhausting.

Imagine this:
You have a job and you work in the office. You have your morning rituals and commute times; you interact with your coworkers; you have meetings and lunches with other people; you come home and do your evening meal and delights; you go to bed and you start the process all over the next day. On the weekend you may sleep in and take some personal time. You get recharged and tackle the Monday just like you have every other Monday.
For me, and people like me, we can get up and do our morning rituals. But going out into the world and having to be “on” takes such a large amount of emotional and mental strength we simply do not have so we break down in some fashion. It may be we’re late to work. It may be we take a sick day. It may be we job hop looking for a job we can work without giving too much notice to our mental health. We may cancel evenings with friends or even self-plans like heading to the movies because it’s too much.
Everything is too much. It is overwhelming and there have been times in the last year I thought I was on the spectrum because even certain noises made me jittery (exhaust fans from the kitchen and bathroom). I cannot breathe when I’m overwhelmed in these situations so I need to check out so I can get breath back into my body.
This does not negate the normal exhaustion one feels when one is working 40+ hours a week, has a family, has a home, or whatever it is people my age have — because that is normal. Working takes the piss out of most humans as does daily life but what I want you to imagine is take that weekend feeling of exhaustion, jack it up by 100 and have it compound over the course of the week.
That is what the mentally ill often go through on a daily basis on top of their crazy.

I find myself nearing 2000 words on something I didn’t think I could sum up 500 so maybe this is the sign I need to start planning that book. From the varied research I have done over the last year, it is rare to find an adult fiction book of someone who is mentally ill and NOT depressive as it is to find a non-fiction book from someone in the first person of their own accounts of being bipolar.
Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

1. Careful readers will remember I ran an Etsy shop of the same name a few years back in which I shuttered (temporarily) when I was working full time. I do have plans of the store re-opening, I just don’t know exactly when.

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what jail is like

Bipolar skull by Taiyo85 on Deviantart
Bipolar skull by Taiyo85 on Deviantart

Dear Internet,
As the kids say, I’m full of all sorts of feels today.
In addition to the sexual harassment shenanigans going on, I received an invite from my mother this weekend to dinner at her place for Thanksgiving with the words, “It is time to forgive and forget. Sincerely apologize” scribbled on the card. There is a metric fuck ton on that topic I need to write in regards to our estrangement, but not today.
No, today we’re going to skip talking about my pussy and boobs and my mother issues and talk about my brain.
Tonight I had a fairly final appointment with my medicating shrink, Dr. H.  I’ve been Lithium free, bipolar and ADHD drug free actually, for nearly a month and feeling pretty damn good about the whole thing. In a lot of ways, I feel like I moved over the hurdle of the mess that had become my life, sought help and while the drugs did not work, found some kind of manageable world that I can exist in the moment and not think of what could/may/potentially happen in the future.
Being bipolar is a fucked up diagnosis. You’re either vilified as being a fucking lunatic and you’re expected, thanks to the media, to accept the condition they present to the masses or treated as the ultimate muse who can spin spiderwebs of creativity at the drop of a hat.
I’ve stopped watching Homeland because I got tired of them treating Carrie’s bipolar as this alternate superhero trait and presenting that anyone with bipolar can go on a sexy times bender, complete with smooth jazz, which warrants a good reason for her demise. Another particularly interesting insight they like to allude to is at ANY TIME Carrie can go bat shit insane! And poof! She’s carted off to the psych ward and given ECT.  Against her will.
(I have made TheHusband promise, no matter how bad it ever gets in the future, he will not allow them to give me ECT. Not in a fucking million years. No.)
Life doesn’t work that way, especially when you’re chemically imbalanced. Not by a long shot. When my mother tried to commit suicide a decade ago, getting her checked in to a psych ward was fucking paper work galore – because isn’t it always? The endless amounts of paperwork when your mother has OD’d on insulin is kind of astounding and makes concrete two things I hope to do in life: Not go to jail or get checked into a psych ward.
(They also had Carrie eating Lithium like its candy and IT WILL REACT THIS VERY SECOND. Lithium takes weeks to get to a medicating level and then you have to take into account the blood work involved and the cannots that could dampen the drugs effectiveness. Lithium, when it works, is a miracle drug if you’re willing to give up alcohol, pain relievers, your sex drive, and are prepared for the amped anxiety and ADHD like symptoms to name a few lovely sideeffects.)
I also get twitchy reading these stories about people who do major things in their life — lose a million pounds, conquered a major disease, overcame their illnesses. We’re only given these tiny snapshots of their insular world in these pieces and golden road after golden road on how much better their life now is! Which is fine, but it’s so hard to relate to someone when they gloss over the details and give up this facade of a mirror under the guise of “I get you.” No, you don’t get me. This is why being crazy is well crazy. Every diagnosis may have a blanket term, but how individually we are under that diagnosis varies as widely as the color spectrum.
TheHusband will tell you living with me while going on and off the drugs, was a goddamned nightmare. What Lisa was he going to end up today? Was I going to put clothes on and go to work or would I call in sick because the thought of getting out of bed was too much to fucking bear? Would I refuse to eat for random reasons or cry for hours because of images of baby elephants triggered that particular spell on that particular day? And I haven’t gotten into the mania yet which transfers, sometimes for me, into excessive shopping and long periods of not sleeping. I’m talking days of going on a few hours of sleep and lots of caffeine.
Sometimes, both at the same time.
Being crazy is ugly. You lose friends who can’t handle the mood swings; you lose jobs, lovers, your sense of self-worth, your dignity, your grace. One minute you’re high on the world and the next, you want to burn it all to the ground and salt the earth. Sometimes the highs last for a really good long period, when the world seems that much sharper, in focus and BOOM! Without warning, it flips and you’re huddled in week old clothing why you can’t bother to get up to shower.  You can track my entire adult career in education, jobs, and relationships on where exactly on the spectrum I was for my mania or depression.
Being crazy is lonely. People turn away from you, friends wander off, lovers break up with you, you have no real outlet to say, “This is me. This is who I am. There are going to be some really amazing days and some really awful days, but if you hang on, it’ll be okay.” Because you have, in a sense, said this before at the last break-up, the last phone call, the last email to someone. They’ve heard this story before — just get some help, they will tell you. Get some help, put your world back together. But what if, like in my case, the help that is supposed to set you free actually imprisons you? I cannot physically take the drugs for my disease. I have tried numerous times and each drug cocktail has shaved off days, weeks, months, sometimes years of time that I will never get back from all the lost time of experimentation. Now what? There is no handbook for this sort of thing, how am I supposed to put my world together if my world is so fragile, the smallest of changes can send it shattering into a million pieces?
Being crazy is exhausting. Whether from the drugs or the pure, raw sheer strength of keeping yourself together during the hour, day, or even the minute. The constant on guard of your feelings, emotions to make sure they don’t explode over everyone you meet.
Today I am neither ugly, lonely, or exhausted. Today has been a good day, as was yesterday and as I hope tomorrow is. Being free is knowing I have done everything under my control to keep this disease in check, to as prepared as much as I can for when the next wave hits, and hope that it will all be over soon.
I end this with a quote from one of my favorite philosophers:

There’s no point to any of this. It’s all just a… a random lottery of meaningless tragedy and a series of near escapes. So I take pleasure in the details. You know… a Quarter-Pounder with cheese, those are good, the sky about ten minutes before it starts to rain, the moment where your laughter become a cackle… and I, I sit back and I smoke my Camel Straights and I ride my own melt. Troy Dyer


This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2011

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