frothing

It shouldn’t any big surprise I’ve applied for Social Security Disability (SSDI) and I’m finally not in a spot of shame to admit this is happening. The first batch of paperwork, on functioning in society, has arrived and I spent the morning getting the packet completed. Eight legal paper sized pages with questions ranging from why I left my last place of work (they fired me for not doing my job) to if I’m getting dressed (I’m in my jim-jams unless I have to go out) and bathing (every other day and on days I go out) and to how well do I do interacting with others and can I handle authority. Can’t I just give them a link to my blog? (Probably not going to happen.)


A second packet has also arrived on my work history. That is getting filled out on another day.


I was to go visit a mosque today to show my solidarity but filling out the paperwork was stressful and I found my focus and concentration waning with each flip of the page. I forced myself to plow through and the payment for this is a head buzzing with racing thoughts and looking at an afternoon of nothingness. That’s not entirely true — I’ll find myself working on homework for my front end web dev class and doing more writing. However, I just cannot go out into the world right now.


I am trying to hard to articulate this feeling of being locked inside your head so much you cannot interact with society. It is stressful but a much needed conversation.


You cannot see the fits and starts of me writing this but it is happening.


I’m also finally accepting I’ll be on Medicaid for awhile. The locations of the services are in areas of town that haven’t seen love in decades. We have found here if you’re white, you don’t go past 9th St, which then becomes the west end. This is where all the “undesirables” (aka brown, black, and Trump supporters) live and it is so obvious the city gives no fucks as there are burnt out warehouses, increased homeless population, and it is the poorest zip code in the county. (Ours is the second poorest but the area is gentrifying so yay?)

I attach a lot of white privilege and shame when I go to the doctor’s offices. I drive a swish car, carry a swish bag, wear swish clothes, and live in a swish condo. The shame comes from I have so many gratitudes for TEH for taking me in and I am so, so, so lucky I’m not out on the street which many do not have these things. Why is she here?, I believe they think when they see me. I’m just another white girl taking advantage of the system when there are people much more deserving than I am. I believe they are right – I shouldn’t be here. I am very privileged and I acknowledge that privilege every day I wake up in a warm place, with food in my belly, and clothes on my back. I rejected the social services available to me when I first moved here because I believed I didn’t deserve it. I shouldn’t take it even though my brain is on fire and I can barely get up to dress and take care of myself.

Once TEH finally convinced I had paid into the system for over 20 years, this is why it’s here for occasions like this. One day at the beginning of a crisis mode, I called the local mental health line looking for help and they sent me to the community mental health center. This was better, I thought, than hospitalization because that cost money and being seen at the clinic did not. I arrived the following day at open to get someone to see me. At best, I had some hope of relief and worst — I didn’t want to think about it.

The homeless, drug addicts, mentally ill, some people all three, where there when the doors open for drugs, counseling, sometimes just a snack and warmth. Even in the midst of my crisis, I felt too functioning to be there. I was told on the phone they would take walk-ins so I registered as soon as I got to the reception desk, sat down after giving my information, and read all day waiting for someone to call my name. Never happened. I go and ask what is my status and they tell me they stopped talking walk-ins a half-an-hour before I asked. I went home, took my clothes off, put on my jimjams and crawled on the couch and waited for the crisis to past. Other than sleeping, occasionally eating, and using the bathroom, I remained nearly immobile for two days.

My pride is deteriorating my health so I now use those services I was once too ashamed to take. I am getting PT for my ankle of doom, chiropractic care for my back. I have a primary physician and an OB/GYN. I have a talking therapist and a medicating therapist who monitors my drugs.

I remain lucky I was saved out of the cracks before I fell much farther down.

So I’m covered and I’ll remain covered until it’s taken away from me if the republicans have their way. Being bipolar is a pre-existing condition and if Medicaid goes away, I am marrying TEH again to get health insurance. This has already been agreed upon.


If I sound contradictory, all over the place, and sounding like an asshole – I probably am. This is a complicated and complex issue. I have swallowed my pride and I use the services available to me because I need them and they are there for me. I am rejecting all the shame because that is exactly why they exist and what I’ve paid into for nearly 30 years. (I started working at 14 with my first job at an ice cream parlor. I’m now 44.)

(It goes without saying if you have voted for Trump, I hope you die in a rotting fiery death of hell with your genitals torn off and shoved down your throat.)


This is not where I planned to go today but the frustration of writing down my life in pen about the status of my mental health, wondering if I sound too functioning when there are times every week I can barely function, to get some help is maddening. The more I talk about it, the more people are willing to share their stories and the feeling of kinship gives me hope.


Finding out my status on SSDI could take as long up to three months. If rejected, I’ll just apply again, and keep applying until I get something to help financially.  I have some unemployment money coming in and that pays my bills but TEH covers my living costs. I’m selling my car soon, which will help pay off my debt and lighten the financial load considerably. I’ve applied for roughly 50 or so jobs since I’ve been back here and nothing has or is panning out. I have no hope of working but I keep trying thinking one day soon I’ll snap back into old Lisa mode and can function into society but I know, realistically, recovery takes a long time, sometimes years. According to the officials, I am way better off than I was even six months ago, and I recognize that, but it’s frustrating. Frustrating has become my word of choice lately and it peppers everything I do.


I don’t want to leave this on a sour note so here is a bit of happy news: Last week I wrote on my writing blog I’m writing and submitting my work more than ever. In the last two weeks, six pieces have been submitted to various magazines and I’m hoping some good news will be coming my way soon-ish. I’ve got a few other pieces in progress and I’m taking an online writing course to tighten up what I have. I feel hopeful here. (Tho’ return on submission is slow — some are saying up to four to six months and no simultaneous submissions.)

Here is a 15 syllable fixed heiku poem that I submitted to tinywords:
lips cherry red     body sags
hollow breath     she is then released

pithy statements (or what happens next when you have a nervous breakdown.)

Dear Internet,

What you’re about to read was written damned near a year ago, never finished, and languished in my drafts box waiting to get some love. It seems appropriate, with my incessant working on self-care to update the mother-fucker and then post it in a more timely manner and by that I mean today, February 10th, 2017.

Let’s re-cap, shall we? I have a nervous breakdown in October 2015 (you can watch this in real time by reading anything from July 2014 until April – May 2016.) I am back in Louisville at that time with TheExHusband and he persuades me to start seeing a talking and medicating therapist, which I do, as I cannot afford, financially, to be hospitalized. My melt-downs are happening less but I’m still very fragile state of mind. I put together coursework, and started collecting inspirational quotes (pithy statements). (click here to jump down to the content after the quotes).

Here are 70 of them:

  • Sleep doesn’t help if it’s your soul that’s tired
  • Everything falls apart when you forget who you are and everything comes back together when you remember
  • Life isn’t about waiting for the storms to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain
  • Be good to people. Even the shitty ones. Let the assholes be assholes. You’ll sleep better
  • You’ll never have to force anything that is truly meant to be
  • Stay away from people who make you feel like you’re hard to love
  • Don’t believe the things you tell yourself when you’re sad and alone
  • Some trite inspirational quote about overcoming some things or some shit. I don’t know. Fuck off
  • Goddess of courage
  • Admire someone else’s beauty without questioning your own
  • Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful
  • You are never too old to to set another or dream a new dream – C.S. Lewis
  • Maybe life isn’t about avoiding the bruises. Maybe it’s about collecting the scars to prove we showed up for it
  • I am not normal. I don’t want to be. I don’t pretend to be. I am me
  • You are bad ass. You can do this
  • FEAR = Forgetting Everything is All Right
  • You are writing your own life
  • Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is you’re stupid and make bad choices
  • If today was the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today? – Steve Jobs
  • You have to let people see what you wrote. It’ll never be perfect but perfect is overrated – Tina Fey
  • Half the failures in life arise from pulling in the horse as he is leaping – August William Hare / Julius Charles Hare
  • Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new – Albert Einstein
  • If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you – not much – Jim Rohn

All that shit you need to do will be there tomorrow, just sit your ass down

  • Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can do –  John Wooden
  • You are the author of your own life story. You can start a new chapter anytime you choose
  • Live your dreams – they are worth it
  • You are a steward of pleasure – Lisa Rabey
  • Do not forget your humanity –  Lisa Rabey
  • You are not alone
  • Find the goddess inside yourself instead of looking for the god in someone else – Francesca Lia Block
  • Seduction is something that lies within us, it’s not an external appearance  – Kitty Cavalier
  • You always have choices
  • You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection – Buddha
  • Body is a state of mind, not a state of body –  Gala Darling
  • When we focus on other’s happiness, we forget our own
  • It’s not about others – it’s about you
  • I cannot change what has already happened
  • Fighting the past only bends me to my present
  • The present is the only moment I have control over
  • This moment is the result of a million other decisions
  • This moment is exactly as it should be, given what’s happened before it
  • The present moment is perfect, even if I don’t like what’s happening
  • We are not our thoughts
  • The best apology is changed behaviour
  • The greatest prison people live in is the fear of what other people think
  • Your story isn’t over yet

Sometimes what you really need is a punch to the throat.

  • Die trying
  • Have hope
  • Don’t ever give up
  • Dream big. Dream bigger
  • Life is short – be happy
  • It’s one thing to be grateful, it’s another to let that dictate your choice
  • Never give up, never be lost
  • Love takes all and be’s all
  • Only you can take care of you
  • Love yourself and live the amazing life which is waiting for you – Gala Darling
  • We are all born naked, the rest is drag  – Rupaul
  • My goal is to always come from a place of love … but sometimes you just have to break it down for a motherfucker – Rupaul
  • You are beautiful purely because you are hear, you exist, and you are doing the best you can – Gala Darling
  • Only you can save yourself
  • Believe in yourself. Have faith in your abilities. Without a humble but a reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy – Norman Vincent Peale
  • If you decide to not dream, you’re not only injuring yourself but taking away the amazing beauty from everyone else who would enjoy your dream more. It’s your responsibility to put these great things out there
  • Fall down seven times, stand up on eight
  • You are more capable than you think you are
  • There are no limits to dreams
  • Feelings are not facts – they are simply feelings and cannot harm you
  • Feeling stuck boils down to feeling fear – Gala Darling
  • Radical self-love is knowing when to get out of your own way – Gala Darling
  • Only you are responsible for your own happiness
  • Instead of asking yourself why this is happening to you, ask why this is happening for you. – Christine Hassler

Some of these quotes came from books, others were saved from the constant roll of inspirational quotes on my news feed on Facebook, and yet others I’ve randomly come across while I scour the internets for whatever.

You’ll notice some are nearly identical to the other. You’ll also notice most of them do not have citations. You’ll notice a lot of them presume everything is about a matter of choice. It doesn’t take into effect mental illnesses or issues where these mantras could do more harm then god.  I was just thinking of someone who is suicidal reading a number of these as and taking their own life because these quotes seemed impossible to believe. Other times I get angry and I want to punch people in the throat because we never read discussions about the pain to get from a to z. “Only you can save yourself” sounds great in theory but in practice is too vague — too condesending — too much of a copout. To save myself is requiring lots of drug therapy and a talking therapist not a pithy statement found on a t-shirt or bumper sticker.

Some days, not so much as I did last year, I feel as if I’m one step away from hospitalization. My melt-downs are less but they still happen. The other night I woke up to pee and found myself in a state of panic so bad one hour of meditation didn’t work so I took a Klonopin and tried meditating again for another 30 or so minutes. When neither that or the Klonopin worked, I took a second pill. At some point, heart still racing, I fell asleep and slept for 10 or so hours. That following day was shot. I moved around like a zombie and the only work I could concentrate on was stuff that was not taxing to the brain. I didn’t shower but I cleaned up by putting on fresh underwear and tshirt. I washed my face. Later I brushed my teeth. Anything more than that would have been too exhausting.

I told TEH that presenting as “normal” exhausts me. Keeping it together to function outside of my safe space takes a lot of effort and control. I cannot do more than one thing a day outside of home. I had a chiro appointment and a hair appointment scheduled yesterday  back to back and I called in and rescheduled both as even five hours worth of presenting was too much and it was, among other things, why I had the panic attack the night before because even the idea was too much.

TEH says, well, you’re not like this with me. Of course not. With you I can be my version of normal without the facade – there is no judgement just concern. I can sit around working on something (writing, knitting, watching a movie) without worrying of having to present myself to you as someone else. I noticed, he said, when we were out with $gameplaying couple (the woman I met at a Jane Austen society meeting), you seemed on edge and terse. Yes, I said. That’s exactly it. Finally, he understood. (They still wanted to see us after that so maybe I didn’t come off as terrible as I felt that I did.)

But sometimes you cannot articulate those feelings — I know I’ve been struggling to say here, this is what being “exhausting” means to me because on the outside, the invisible disability is just that, invisible and when you meet me, and knew nothing about this, you would think I was a charming fellow. A bit obnoxious, sure, but charming all the same and on the inside, I would be screaming.

I don’t want to be here — this place after what all has happened. Who does? My life is crippled and on hold and I bitterly laugh to myself that at 44, soon to be 45!, all the things I wanted to be and do by now seemed impossible. Not because I am not passionate enough for them but because emotionally, mentally, and yes, yes financially, they are out of reach. But, I console myself, this is all temporary. I know this is temporary. I can survive anything and by accepting this state is temporary gives me some breathing room and relief. I have no plans on killing myself, let us be clear on that, but I am in a much better state than I was a year ago and a year from now, I will be even better.

So we wonder, I wonder, what it’s like when your brain breaks and you’re picking up the pieces but we don’t talk about it. Friends don’t ask me because maybe — I don’t know, they just don’t. So, I think, it’s time for this disease to not control me, having me lying sobbing on the couch or bed, and it is time I can summon up the strength to control it.

Because fuck it, I’ve got this.

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 20162004, 2001

love notes into the ether

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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