Bipolar New Year’s Reservations

I purposefully did not make new year’s resolutions this year.  As a good friend said, resolutions are just a list of things to do until the end of January and well, I don’t need another list I don’t do and feel bad about.  No thanks.  I already have that in my mind, heart and body, and I berate myself about it regularly.   Unfortunately, this year has been quite insistent about me getting up and going when I’d like to do the precise opposite.  I am QUITE comfortable in camp couch, where the fireside is the lighter for my cigarettes, and varying candy, the s’mores of the day.  And whilst I may be protesting loudly in my sleep, this year will NOT leave me alone.   Even my good old friend Pinterest, has been recommending far too many get up and go solutions, complete with a journal page layout to match.  So I decided let’s do a few a of these suggestions my way.

I have decided that I will tie myself (in a seated position) to a treadmill and eat chocolate. This way, I will get burn the calories while I consume them, and further achieve another all important new year’s reservation: self care whilst exercising.  Double win.  Stop pointing out the practicality that I will fall off the treadmill. In my mind, I will loose weight whilst eating chocolate and I’ve always wanted THIS solution.  And no-one said you have to STAND on the treadmill to loose weight.  A further activity I will undertake is actively volunteering in the neighbourhood crime watch in the middle of the night, whilst on my medication.  Under the guise of “caring for others” I fully plan to mom karate chop someone or something committing evil in the middle of the night,. This is more for me than it is for them. But I will say that it was self-defense.  I’ve considered doing this malls, but apparently b*tch slapping someone as you walk to shop is not considered socially acceptable.  I beg to differ.  For example if it’s a man or something, there’s probably a reason I should slap him, and save his wife / girlfriend / boyfriend (or all of the above) time?

More seriously, I don’t feel like the double dose of lithium I’ve been given is working.  I am frustratedly angry that I have a condition that is “sometimes ok”.  I am angry that it never, ever goes away.  I feel better occasionally, and even when that is the case, in the back of my mind, I wonder when the chest clenching anxiety will come back.  And it either makes me feel like karate chopping someone else – or myself – dependent on mood.  Each day I try and fight, try and breathe through the anxiety and irritation and sometimes it does or doesn’t work.  So Pinterest, 2019 Enthusiasts, and well wishers – please shove those well meaning pins and sparklers somewhere else.  I am, for as long as it will be allowed, now going kick box / b*tch slap shopping.  Be part of those who support us as opposed to those who don’t.  I am 4 M’s Bipolar Mom.

 

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Nightmare on Dream Street

Yesterday, being as prepared as I always am, I packed out my 2kg weights (freaking heavy), my resistance band and exercise mat, all in preparation for the sweat, immediately amazing body inducing workout I had planned for the following morning.  The weights, mat and resistance band are even colour-coded.  I went one step further and downloaded several (about 10) workouts that would ensure that within a week I gave Kim Kardashian a run for her money,  booty and all. And then mental illness. Exasperated sigh.  Instead of waking up ready and energised for my day and the Kim K exercise, I spent the night running in my dreams.  And trying to get out of it.  Then I would wake up, and try and smoke asleep to calm down.  Then I’d singe my hair / leg / arm and would wake up again, with a jolt.   And I can tell you that running / waking up with your heart running and burning is a lot tiring and not so satisfying.

So at this point, to keep balance in the universe, I would like to suggest (very politely) to the mental illness gods, please can we take shifts?  Could we have like shifts of being tortured / burned / not wanting to sleep that are manageable and conducive to exercise and being productive the next day?  I’d be quite open to taking the torture shift between 21h00 – 00h00 and could then hand over the Bipolar Baton to another weary soul.  Moreover, I would like more control of the playlist that is allowed during committed shift.  Some videos and backing tracks should just be burned (perhaps the only burning that should be going on), and not on the reel for Bipolar people at all.  If you understand what it’s like to feel in extremes, Stephen King (super scary) like content is breath-taking on STERIODS (and not in an awesome way.  AT. ALL,) and should never be allowed.  Because what happens is that you believe it’s real during the dream,  wake up gasping for air, boob out of your pj’s ready to run around and hide behind the nearest corner.   Nothing pretty about that.

And this is it.  The truth is that a lot of mental illness is tiring. Not pretty.  Exhausting.  Just the experience of being in your body, your mind, a torture track on repeat well it’s less than awesome.  And it doesn’t go away and it’s on – just as I’ve mentioned – even when you are supposed to be asleep.  I’m not special and I don’t deserve special treatment.   I know that there are many who suffer even more greatly.   But well, I have to stay with me and my body and my brain and I’m the most complaining.  And I’m saying that I am tired of frequenting my own private thriller theatre which starts off so serenely – and then gets to in about 0,00002 secs run / dive / burn for your life.  I do not have anything prophetic, kind or considerate to say at this stage.  I’m drinking copius amounts of coffee to avoid additional theatre visits during the course of today.  So yes – Mental Illness Gods – please, please can we minimally stop these nightmares on my dream street?  Be part of those who support us as opposed to those who don’t.   I am 4 M’s Bipolar Mom.

Self Care Super Hero

I have been considering practising martial arts moves.  Enrolling in a proper karate kid class so I can karate chop those that make my life miserable (of which there is an increasing variety).  This is of course in line with my plight to become a Bipolar Vigilante, fighting all of the ills people with mental illness confront when the people we want to reach are asleep.  Ok, let’s not get caught up on this technicality.  Because I COULD scarily stand over said sleeping people, which would have much more of an impact, no?  Complete with heavy breathing, uncombed hair, and limited personal hygiene, I could be the Captain of Catatonic, the Slayer of Sadness, um, if I can get out of bed on that day.  Again, technicalities aside.

Honestly, the only thing that is unrealistic about this growing imagination is the lycra and me getting up and the need to leave the house (which is a lot hard at the moment).  For practical reason.  As an experienced fat person, the truth is, NOTHING stretches until it’s over the rolls, ripples and mountains your body has come to be post psychiatric pills, sugar, sugar, and well um, sugar.  I’ve not yet met a kind fabric that hasn’t gone into the chafing wars with my fat.  For real.  And it requires a truck, bulldozer and well meaning children to get your outfit on.  And after that all I’m ready for is bed.  Seriously though, I have consulted with my mental health team, we’ve doubled the lithium and hoping to increase therapy for a while and they’ve suggested other sordid well meaning self care activities. One such suggested self care activity was going a day without wearing a bra, and I smiled serenely at the thought that I was obviously doing the most for myself.  Ha!  Self-care saggy boobs super hero at your service.

On the prospect of more awesome lubricating lithium I am SO pleased that I can now knock more over, more loudly put my foot in my mouth more regularly and other behaviours that so prettily fuel the stigma of people with mental illness.  Given how I was without the increased dose, I do think I’m going to have to start walking around with those road harzard signs all around me, and the sound of a loud reversing truck (peep-peep-peep) at any given point.  Like a walking abnormal load, with printed disclaimers in the event of third party or self injury.  It’s true.  I’ve cut myself with a knife when said knife was minding it’s own business, lying in the cutlery tray.   I don’t even know how that was possible.  But there I was – shuffle shuffle – and then blood and then bye kitchen.

The truth is that this here Bipolar Girl ain’t feeling super.  No hero.  No awesome.  No power.  Just a I want to hide my head in the couch, eat candy and smoke until my husband comes home and I can literally climb under his wing.  I know that I can’t stay here forever.  There are things to be done.  But for today, wonder woman is saying sorry guys.  Fight your own battles.  I’m about to have an urgent um, self-care conversation with my couch. Be part of those who support us as opposed to those who don’t.  I am 4M’s Bipolar Mom.

Bipolar Brain Farts

I have with great purpose, been trying to run away from this year.  From fireworks that suggest our feelings are ready to feel, that our bodies are ready to be, that we can creep out of the comfort and cushioning of family who are mostly kind (sometimes bearing gifts!),  and the freedom to consume as many carbs, sugar etc. ’cause you know, it twas the season to be jolly.   And I am a lot not ready to adult, to work, to focus, not even to write.  My blog friends will have noticed I have been more quiet of late.  And I will say that the struggle has been real.  In honesty, the only purpose I have is to move between the couch and my fridge, as I stage my one woman protest against 2019.

This protest comes from a difficult place.  I started working when I was a teenager – I kind of had a baby that needed food to eat – so I started being part of the rat race way before I was supposed to.   And twenty and more years later, I have to concede that I am tired.  And that I can’t do that anymore.  And that I actually don’t like people generally, because of their penchant for being mean / idiotic / insert insulting word here. It’s also because I am visibly weird and awkward and have an unfortunate tendency to tell the complete and utmost truth without censorship in the Boardroom.  In the times during which this happened, my colleagues looked at ME strangely, and either coughed loudly or laughed nervously, and it would trigger me understanding that my broken bipolar brain filter had farted loudly once again.  And it’s kind of funny in the beginning but then when it turns out you are the butt of the joke more often than not – literally – the brain farts aren’t so satisfyingly gaseous anymore.

I do know that not wanting to get up / leave the couch / smoke and eat sweets for a living is sort of not what’s good for me (well, jury’s still out on that) so I have gone to see my psychiatrist and low and behold, she’s doubled the lithium.  And this, with an already lubricated mouth and brain, well, it should lead to some interesting results.  But for now, I am keeping my brain, body and well “outbursts” to myself and the couch.  I am not ready for the real world yet.  Or to be more precise I am tired of the real world – and you can keep your fireworks – cause I can cause explosions all on my own – just with my brain and mouth.  Oh and for those who don’t know – what comes out is DILUTED.  I am sparing you, and I’m fully aware of what’s going on, and the faux fart my brain may have made.  I’m just not going to say sorry anymore. Be part of those who support us as oppposed to those who don’t.  I am 4 M’s Bipolar Mom.

 

Bipolar World of Work

There are good reasons why I do not have a fulltime job.  The primary reason has to be the unfortunate incidence of having to engage with other people, way, way, way too early for my pills to have worn off and my coffee to have kicked in.  Because when I am pill hungover (an everyday occurance), and without caffeine, there may be much kicking go on, that is not inside or on own my body, my best self hopes.  And to make matters worse, even when I am appropriately caffeinated and less prone to um, kickboxing, the PEOPLE don’t go or stay away.  They stay and ask for stuff, like repeatedly.  I’m not unrealistic, I am not even insubordinate, I just don’t like people very much, other than those I’ve birthed or am married to, and even they live a dangerous existence each day when my mood is low.

The other very more real reason is that each day is a bit of a lucky packet for me.  Ok, strike lucky, but more of a mixed bag of mood / feelings etc that I confront everyday. Most frequent is frenetic heart palpitations that wake me up, and I hyperventilate about why that is, what could potentially be / could / is wrong, and then I hyperventilate more when I don’t know.  The other is waking up as if you are in the midst of a funeral of a dearly departed loved one, with dramatics, chest cavity pounding and tears to boot.  So you’ll excuse me if you’d like to make breath-taking announcements at any point of the day – I’m usually one up on ya, on a good day – even before I’ve left my bed.

The other is that I sometimes cannot summon the courage to get up, shower (shudders) or otherwise leave the comfort of my couch crater, which is oh so protective in it’s plushiness and availability of candy, new and old, that I find in it’s folds.  Don’t judge. When you are asleep on Serraquel ANYTHING is edible. Oh, and that brings me to another personal favourite:  not sleeping at all, whilst on medication that sedates you, the whole night.  It’s SO AMAZING to listen to people snore, exhale, hours and hours of blissful sleep that I do not get, like ever, without prescribed chemical aids.  So in short, I do not have a fulltime job because of my propensity to kick others, not breathe, not sleep, and um, feel like parboiled sh*t on a good day.  There is a saying that sums up my daily existence so beautifully: “I’m sorry I’m late but I didn’t want to come”.  Yes.  All. The. Time.

I do not mean to whinge or complain, but rather highlight how difficult this is for me and many others like me.  I can contribute, I can write and I can work.  It just can’t happen in the way that the rest of the world understands.  And “I don’t feel like it” is a lot more than a juvenile approach to not wanting to do the homework of the real world every day.  It’s not because I won’t.  It’s usually, because of very very real barriers that I can’t.  And today I challenge the rest of the world to think about that.  When people in South Africa work, they request “reasonable accommodation” – which means in my understanding, that you take into account what is “wrong” with that person and that you adapt accordingly.  You will forgive me when I laugh loudly at the suggestion that a “wheelchair ramp” be built for my weirdness.  That you accommodate my being able to work, say after lunch each day.   I haven’t figured it out yet.  But the dawn of 2019 suggests that I need to find a way to work – that works for me and others.  In the meantime, you’ll excuse me whilst I hone my kickboxing skills.  Be part of those who support us as opposed to those who don’t.  I am 4M’s Bipolar Mom.

Bipolar Vigilante

I have been consumed with (other than breathing) finding out like what my purpose is.  I fully and quite sanely believe that I will in an hour or two, define: my vision, purpose, objectives and other necessary stuff (including a colour coded implementation plan) to bring about world peace over the course of 2019.  Surprisingly, my plan for world domination (sorry meant peace) has not hatched.   Heck, it hasn’t even been incubated yet.  Because everytime I’m on the eve of a Nobel Peace Prize plan discovery, like mental illness, and I need to inhale candy, nicotine and anxiety tablets all at the same time, and then I’m kind of not in a place to I don’t know, gantt chart my life.   But then it hit me. What Bipolar traits / symptoms etc do I live with that I could use to my advantage?  Yes, I did say Bipolar and advantage in the same sentence.

My strategy is to morph into a Bipolar B*tch Vigilante – fighting the good fight – for people with mental illness.  More directly for the me that has mental illness. I have decided to become a Bipolar Bat-wo-man, the Catwoman of Crying and the Wonder Woman of Woe. The signal they would use to call me (and that they know only functions each day after 10h00 in the morning) would be the sign for Lithium – shone bravely into the sky to summon Bipolar B*tch Woman to fight.  And I will, after about two hours of trying to squeeze the lycra over my lithium infused limbs (which has much self-coated padding for protection), try my best not to look tired, wipe off the sweat, have a few chocolates for energy, and I’d be right to fight.   And fight I will.  Armed with swords of irritation, sonic booms of sadness, and freezing blocks of confused feelings – I’d like to see any enemy triumphing over me.  C’mon, Mr.  Octupus Society – try me.

And then that plan just collapsed.  Because I just realised a major glitch.  I can fight, I have the tools to navigate society, and I can certainly make a noise for me and anyone who has mental illness.  And I do if I can.  But like that’s tiring, and realistically, only because I experienced this when trying to go to the gym: lycra and chocolate are a bad idea, particularly if a TV and bed are in close proximity.  Shrugs shoulders.  It’s true.  I am and have already been SO much busy with fighting for me – everyday, all the time, like the whole time – that I’d rather much do the direct opposite.  Instead of sonic booming anyone, I think I need to realise that me can be my biggest enemy.  That I shouldn’t be using my “weapons” to fight myself.  And I have been doing that, unintentionally for far, far too long.  So Mr. Mayor / Chief of Police, please switch off that Bipolar Bat-Lithium-Woman sign.  I am busy figuring out how to look after myself.  How to protect me.  Help me. Be part of those who support us as opposed to those who don’t.  I am 4 M’s Bipolar Mom.