If I Were Bipolar

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d be a rapid cycler.

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d exit a two-month depression and launch right into an extended mixed episode.

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d make some dangerous decisions that would, ya know, put me in danger.

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d justify said dangerous decisions with shit like, “this is just what it looks like to live after stifling yourself for the better part of thirty-seven years.”

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d recover from heartbreak by meeting up with a never-ending string of dudes who give less than a shit about me.

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d only find pleasure in the kind of job that makes me pull my hair out.

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d leave that job on some random Tuesday night, meet up with some stranger, and stay up until 4 AM.

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d return to work the next day and alternate between bouncing off the walls and wanting to shoot myself in the face.

It’s a good thing I’m not bipolar.

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MANGRY. That’s Mad + Angry. And Now I’m Mangry for having to Explain MANGRY.

I was going to write a post.

I was going to tell you all about the awesome four day weekend I had this weekend just past.

I was going to tell you about bookstores and masturdating and parks and recreation and old fucks and Buddha by the rhododendron and fishing and fiction.

But no.

No.

I can’t do that right now.

Because fuck me, that’s why.

I let the doc put me on geodon. It’s an antipsychotic. Hear me out. I had it on good authority that it could, in fact, help with the mixed episodes I’ve been experiencing a lot lately.

Problem is…turns out I’m allergic to the shit. Severely.

I’ve been throwing up for 2-3 days straight, no chaser. Seriously. I chased it with anti-vomityourgutsup juice, and I vomited the anti-vomityourgutsup juice out.

Big ass rash spreading across the back of my neck.

Bubbles on my arm (blister).

Dizziness and worsening headache.

Confusion. Randomly stopping myself mid-thought or even mid-sentence.

Itching.

Massive edema.

Fucking. (Yeah right. No such luck.)

Torn up guts.

Itching. Did I mention this COOKIEMONSTERFORSAKEN ITCHING?! MOTHERFUCK, I ITCH.I’d pay somebody to scratch my itch, but I think that’s called solicitation.

cookiemonster

Anyway. The one thing it geodon DIDN’T fuck with, clearly, is my ragingly filthy mind. So there’s that. And also my cookiediction. Me want cookies. Now. (Also. May I borrow someone’s kids so I can “not” teach them this lesson by what is obviously The Real Cookie Monster, please stand up?)

The one thing I DIDN’T get as a side effect was the heart-racing arrhythmia. It’s a damn good thing, because if that box had gotten ticked, he was going to have to admit me. My heart was not only NOT racing, it was lower than he’s ever recorded it. 42. I think? OH MY GOD, MY HEART IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?! I KNEW IT!

Anyturtles. My GP said I met every single other criterion for the Rare and Severe reactions. Yay me!

A man once told me I was rare. Now I know what he meant. RARE AND SEVERE AND FUCKED UP.

I kid.

Mostly.

Except I don’t kid. You kid. Keep the kids over there. Because I’m MANGRY.

Because.

Because.

On top of forvomigen, the nausea med he gave me that doesn’t work, he also gave steroids. Lots and lots of steroids that I have to take for six fucking days.

He asked if I had any issue taking short-term steroids to stop my allergic responses and wipe out the rash. I said no, except Hulk. He was mildly puzzled, then laughed when I said YOU know….then I made rage face and said Hulk Angry! Only some of that actually happened. I’ll let you work it out.

So I’m on steroids for a week. And I’m sweating and angry and itching and sore. AND NOT FOR ANY OF THE FUN REASONS.

And I can’t make my brainhole focus on the things I WANTED to write about.

Fucking fuckstick douchecanoe handledick. Oooo handledick. New one. That works a myriad of ways, that one.

Anyway. I’m gonna fuck off outta here.

Just wanted to say Hi.

Just wanted to say I’m Pissed Off.

Just wanted to say I Miss You.

Just wanted to say Bye Fuckers, Because ME MANGRY.

Oh. And for what it’s worth? Either I was on one of my upswings already, or geodon was actually helping me. Because starting the drug coincided with the start of a major uptick in my moods and mindset. So. Let’s hope it wasn’t the geodon. Because now I’m pissed that I can’t take it anymore. WAAAAAAH. Look at me. Crying like a bitch. MANGRY.

P.S. If that mangry music isn’t your thing, mute it and watch. Because Sully Erna is in Fine Fucking Form here. Shirtless. Shoeless. Perfect jeans. Yum. You know what? I’ll take my steroids with a side of Sully. (Unfortunately, that’s the only good part of the video. The rest of it is wrestling or boxing or nascar or some other lame shit where grownass boys beat each other up for money.) (Hey, don’t start in on me! I told you I’m mangry! It’s in the title! FUCKING STEROIDS. GRAWR.) (But now I’m sleepy and itchy and mangry and hungry and sweaty and ARRGGGHHHHHHH I SAID GOOD DAY!)

P.S. Numberonius Twovicus. How about a preview of last weekend, hm?

image

The One Where I Feel Like Crap on a Cracker and Don’t Know What to Write so I Ramble about Sad-Sack Shit

I wanna write something here. I really do. I have a real craving to sit down and blog. But nothing is coming to me. Nothing. I’m also having trouble reading, focusing on words and keeping them in memory long enough to properly process what I’ve read. And that’s upsetting, because I deeply value what I’ve found here: the solace and camaraderie of this community are pretty fucking epic. I can only hope that this shithouse feeling will pass.

sad sack
Look at the little sack. Just fucking sitting there. Being sad. What a sad sack.

In the meantime, I’m gonna update you on mental health mumbo jumbo. (Dudes, I’m totally gonna belittle it and use words like “crazy.” Trust me when I say I know how deeply important it is to monitor and treat mental health issues. But I tend toward self-deprecation. Hell everything-deprecation. So yeah.) (I’m also in a kind of grrrr mood. Should I have led with that? I should have led with that.) (Wait, I kinda did with the title, huh?) (I mean, that whole “sad-sack” thing was kind of a dead giveaway.) (Please disregard these parentheticals.) (Someone come here and make me stop it.)

I grow weary of talking about depressing shit (I mean, depression is pretty fucking depressing, don’t ya think?) (And who wants to talk about that shit all the time? I sure as fuck don’t.). But right now, it’s what I’ve got: a big fat steaming pile of depressing shit. So I’m gonna update you and maybe (hopefully) get some of this worked outta my system. Where to begin, though? I guess there’s only one place to begin.

She’s the One They Call Dr. Feelgood

I followed through on the psychiatry appointment on December 21. And then she made me see her again on December 28. And now I have to see her again this Saturday, January 9.

The first appointment went a little something like this:

I show up fifteen minutes early, because that’s how I do.

Dr. Feelgood shows up forty-five minutes later (a half hour late to her own fucking practice hours).

Meanwhile, I suffer and ponder murder and pyromania, my rage significantly exacerbated by the concert-volume country music pumping through the speakers. “It has to be that loud sugar. How else’s people gon’ not hear each other’s sessions? This here’s a small office,” explained Rodeo Rhonda, chain-smoking, Wrangler-clad secretary extraordinaire. (It was clear whose turn it was to select the radio station that afternoon.)

I shared the waiting room with a fellow crazy person, who made me wonder what the fuck I was doing there. That crazy motherfucker changed seats at least once every five minutes, all the while yammering on ninety to nothin’ about how this bitch better not dare take him off his drugs. “I will turn that bitch’s desk over! I will throw a fit until she agrees that I know more about panic disorder than she does! She won’t take away my disability!” (This was his first session (with Dr. Feelgood), too, by the way. I don’t know much about panic disorder, but I’m pretty sure the dude was at least verging on panic – except he was super smiley and laughy. He was also pretty fucking nosy – he kept sticking his head to the wall and shushing me while he eavesdropped on Rodeo Rhonda and her conversations with the other patients trickling in. Also. He diagnosed me as Bipolar 1, since I was nervous and couldn’t stop bouncing my leg and fidgeting. He declared me manic and told me what drugs to ask for. (Don’t worry. I didn’t lend that any credence.))

After two other patients had been called into see Dr. Feelgood before either of us, Panicky Pete had a moment of clarity. “Hey! What time was your appointment for?!” “Mine was supposed to be 4:00,” I returned. He started laughing and (literally) smacked himself in the forehead. “Lemme guess, yours was for 4:00 as well?” Yep. Turns out, not only were both of us scheduled for 4:00, but so were the two people who ended up being seen ahead of us. They were established patients – and they get seen first, no matter who shows up first or what your appointment time was. Nice, right?

She was pretty quick with them, and then spent a good half hour with a drug rep. I was pretty fucking wound up by this point. And none too keen on the woman in whose hands I was about to place my mental health. (I will add here, about Panicky Pete, that I’m thankful for him. I would not have waited an hour and a half had he not kept me occupied and chatted-up. My anxiety was fierce enough to propel me right out the front door, that is until he started talking to me.)

After a solid hour and a half wait, it was my turn.

I didn’t get to say a lot – well, that’s not exactly true. Uhm. I didn’t get to do much free-talking. She had her forms and checklists, and she asked lots of questions. In my replies to her, I was essentially able to share everything I’d hoped to be able to share with a counselor (except the self-harm – I just reread that post, and that’s the one thing I see that didn’t get mention).

I had to fight her a lot harder than the counselor, to keep from being hospitalized. But I prevailed. And she finished a forty-five minute session with diagnoses. And drugs. I’m not sure how I feel about any of it.

The Diagnoses: Bipolar II, Major Depressive Disorder, Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

The Drugs: Lamictal, Lexapro, Lithium, Vistaril and Clonidine. Oh and over-the-counter Vitamin D3 5000 IU.

Yeah. That’s a fuckton of drugs, yo. A fuckton. And, as I said, I’m not sure how I feel about any of it. But to keep my ass from being admitted to a psych ward, I had to agree to take the drugs.

I took the drugs.

anxiety

The second appointment went a little something like this:

Dr. Feelgood asked whether I was feeling better. I informed her that I was not. And that I was actually even more tired than before, and still depressed and crying and magnetized to my bed.

Dr. Feelgood says, “hmmmm.”

I informed her as well that I was having major sleep disturbances, same as I had when I was on Cymbalta. I wake up all throughout the night, sometimes hourly, sometimes with difficulty falling back asleep.

Dr. Feelgood says, “hmmmm” and ups the Clonidine and writes new prescriptions for two more weeks of the drugs.

No mentions are made of hospitalization this time, and she says she can wait two weeks to see me this time, instead of one. But y’all, I can’t fucking afford to keep this up. Not only the cost of Dr. Feelgood’s appointments, but also the fucking lab work that she says I’ll have to regularly submit to for monitoring Lithium levels.

The third appointment is this Saturday. In the meantime, I still feel like shit. In some ways, I feel a lot fucking worse.

Drugged-Up Stephanie Feels Drugged-Up (Surprise Surfuckingprise.)

drugged up pikachu

Bitchplaint #1 (I couldn’t decide between bitching and complaining. Hence bitchplaint.) Anyway, Bitchplaint #1: Lithium. I didn’t wanna take Lithium. I still don’t wanna take Lithium. I don’t think I need Lithium. I’ve never. EVER. Had full-blown mania. Seriously. NEVER. And I told her that. Now I realize that Lithium can be used to treat more than Bipolar I, but I still don’t think I need it.

Bitchplaint #2: My hand is shaking. A lot. Like, I dropped a glass of water in the kitchenette at work yesterday, because my hand jerked.

Bitchplaint #3: I haven’t had a full night of sleep since December 21. And I’m sick to death of waking up multiple times a night.

Bitchplaint #4: I’m fucking tired. And not just tired from lack of sleep, but lethargic. I could pass out at my desk. Right. Now. And in the rare moments when I feel well-rested (snort…that’s funny), I just feel this general lethargy and malaise. Kinda goes hand in hand with giving even less of a fuck about anything now than before I was drugged.

Bitchplaint #5: I’m dazed and confused (sing it!), and sometimes dizzy. Y’all would not believe how long this is taking me to write.

Bitchplaint #6: I finafuckingly got the edema from arthritis under control. And guess the fuck what – I’m swelling like a motherfucker from something I’m taking. And who knows what, since she threw five drugs at me at once!

Bitchplaint #7: I know you’re supposed to give these things time. But fucking fuck fuck! It’s been like three weeks now. And I still feel like hot buttered shit. Worse, in a lot of ways. When do I get to start feeling better? Or, hell, at least back where I was!

Bitchplaint #8: This probably goes back in with #4. But fuck it, we’re here now. I’m committed to #8. Hi #8. This one is that I’ve cracked maybe half a dozen real smiles or laughter since December 21. Some things have amused me, intellectually. Like, “Hey, this is hilarious. I love this kinda shit.” “P.S. Why the fuck aren’t you laughing? Laugh! LAUGH!” Nope. Not happening. And that is perhaps the most unbearable one of all.

Between now and Saturday morning, I’ll come up with some eloquent way of expressing my concerns to Dr. Feelgood. Crossing my fingers she listens.

~

To top it all off, last Thursday (as in: seven days ago, AKA NYE) I was hit with one of the more severe migraines I’ve had in a while. I’ve had daily (not kidding) headaches since I was little. Sometimes they turn into migraines. My father said, “a head like that’s supposed to hurt.” My mother filled me with Tylenol and, when that stopped working, Excedrin Extra-Strength. Daily. Multiple times a day. Fast-forward to now, and I still live like that. Managing headaches. Trying my best not to take BC powders (which I graduated to a few years ago), because I know they’re bad for me. Then ending up in tears at work, so I buckle and take one.

Well, last Thursday I was waylaid with the migraine from hell. And I spent the next four days in bed. The rest of Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. I took nothing for my head in all that time. I just lay in the dark, crying and thinking decapitation would be an improvement. I had to call in to work on Monday, which I simply do not do. Since it hadn’t abated at all, I went to my doctor. He had his nurse administer two shots (one of which nearly made me faint, for realsies), then prescribed some pills. I don’t even really know what they are, just that they don’t work. Which, I suppose, is all that matters.

So, here I am seven days later, with a headache from hell. It still hasn’t gone away, though it has (somewhat) lessened in severity.

This shit is not improving my mood.

~

So Dr. Feelgood better not give me any lip on Saturday! Because I’ll! I’ll! Crumble.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll tell y’all about the MRI. But only if you behave. Which remains to be seen.

~

This post brought to you by:

Lithium. Say it with me, boys and girls. Lithium! Hooray!

And thecheekyhousewife, who prompted me to dig into my draft and get this bitch done. Because it’s been like a week since I posted! Y’all go check her out. Anyone with a tagline that reads, “Bend Over And Grab Your Ankles, 2016. You’re About To Get Spanked.” is a worthy read indeed!

Prelude to a Shrunken Head, AKA Stephanie Prepares to be Therapized

P.S. I’m pissed that “therapized” is actually a word. Seriously, I googled “therapize,” and that fucker exists! I was so proud of making it up! Google defines it as “subject to psychological therapy” which is exactly what I meant by it!

Hmph. That’s a buncha bullshit right there. Anyway, yes I totally started this post with a postscript. Deal with it.

So, as you’ve probably guessed by now, this post is about the time I made a class of third graders write haiku about pickles. Except it’s totally not about that. Didn’t you even read the fucking postscript?

I’ve been considering therapy for a long time. I’m talkin’ years. But over the last year or so, my mind has gotten so dark that it frightens me. It’s time. It’s past time that I seek help.

The phone calls were hard to make. But I got help and was also told where to go if I need urgent care. I have an appointment for next Thursday, a week from today. And…and I’m proud of myself and also freaking right the fuck out. I need to get some things off of my chest, because I still can’t think straight. I can’t think of any funny anecdotes to share or anyone to slam in a humorous way. So I need to purge some darkness. Here goes.

~

MEMO

To:          Therapist
From:    Basketcasephanie
Date:     I don’t think that’s allowed between us, but thanks.
RE:         Things I wish you knew but will never be able to tell you in forty-five minutes.

MESSAGE

Trust – I don’t trust you. I’ve never met you, and I don’t trust you. You’re a woman, first off. And I’ve never not had my trust betrayed by a woman. I know you’re a therapist, and you have rules and blah blah blah. But you’re also human. And I don’t trust humans. Especially female ones. I know there are some great ones out there. I know. But I’m scared to open up to you, and I wish you knew that. I don’t want to spill my guts to you, only to find you either can’t help me or are dismissive of me. And I will live with the fear that you’ll tell all of my secrets. I don’t think you can help me. I think you’re a waste of my time and money. But as a dear soul recently said to me, I know what I’ve got right now. And it’s not working. So why not give something else a shot? So I’m giving you a shot. Please don’t break my trust and abandon me like everyone else has.

Please prove me wrong about you.

Lost and Afraid – I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to do therapy, and I don’t know how to do life anymore. I’m afraid if you can’t help me, no one can. I did go to therapy once. I was a child, and in some set of circumstances (the details of which I’m not privy to), my mother was required to take me to therapy. She took me and my sister to a counseling center for battered and abused women and children. I know we went several times. I remember the dark wood staircase and banister. The narrow foyer. The closed doors and hushed voices. I remember shaking and being afraid to speak.

I had to do Rorschach tests – I had to do a lot of those. They asked me a lot of strange questions. But the last thing I remember about that place is when they required us to draw pictures of our family life, specifically anything that upset or worried us. My sister drew this simple, common little family picture. A house in the background and a line of stick figures holding hands. I remember backing into a corner, going mute and refusing to move. I had this mixed feeling of fear that I would be punished for disobeying and fear of the consequences of drawing what was in my head. So I shook and stayed quiet and fought the urge to pee on myself. That’s the last time I remember going.

I’m scared you’re going to make me open up wounds for you to stare at and leave them to fester and rot. You’re going to ask me to draw mental pictures for you, then you’re going to send me on my way with a bandaid and an invoice. But I don’t know how to do life anymore, so here I am.

I’m still that scared little girl, cowering in the corner and trying not to piss her pants. I will have a panic attack in your office. I’m going to shake and sob and choke and dry heave.

Please help me.

Depression – You should know I’ve been depressed for so long that I don’t remember what it’s like to be free from it. You should know that I’m severely depressed. I have suicidal ideation, and the imaginings in my head are specific, planned and visual. You should know that I have no support system in my daily life, so I’ve reached out to people online. The loneliness I feel has seeped into the marrow of my bones, spread itself out and taken over my body and my mind. It’s rooted there, and I don’t think I’ll ever be free of it.

You should know that I hate myself, and I expect you to hate me, too. You should know that sometimes, when people talk to me, instead of listening, I’m smiling on the outside but screaming “FUCKYOU FUCKYOU FUCKYOU FUCKYOU SHUTTHEFUCKUP LEAVEMEALONE” over and over in my head. This will happen when you talk to me, too. Another reason that I don’t think this talk therapy bullshit is going to work.

I’m unhappy with myself. I’m unhappy with my job. I’m unhappy with my past. I’m unhappy with my present. I’m unhappy with my stagnation. I don’t want to get out of bed in the mornings. I sleep all weekend to escape the maddening loneliness and the dark thoughts. I don’t take care of myself. My house is a wreck, my clothes are wrinkled, my hair stays in a messy ponytail, and I don’t give a fuck. I don’t give a fuck about you or anyone else or what you think or whether I live, die or grow mushrooms out of my ass.

But I do care. I’m drowning, and you’re my last hope.

CPTSD – You should know I suspect I’m suffering from CPTSD as well. I’ve never recovered from childhood abuse. I’ve never recovered from being emotionally, physically and sexually abused. And I hate myself. I hate myself for being weak. I hate myself for not getting over it. I hate myself for not speaking up when things happened. I hate myself for not holding people accountable for their crimes. I hate myself for considering it crimes, when so many suffered so much worse. And I hate myself for diminishing it. I just hate myself.

Every time I’ve seen him, even as a woman in my thirties, I feel an urge to piss my pants. I shake. My voice shakes, my body shakes. I shake all over and I have a visceral reaction. I get nauseated, tense and void my bladder. I’m scared to death that you’re going to tell me to confront him and refuse to continue treatment with me when I refuse to do so. I will not confront him. I will not go to him, regardless of what he’s going through right now. Fuck him and fuck you for suggesting it.

Please help the terrified little girl inside of me. Please don’t make me talk to him.

Bipolar Disorder – My uncle is a severe Bipolar I. My mother is Bipolar II. I’m afraid and also hoping that you will tell me I’m bipolar as well. I suspect Bipolar II, like my mother. I’m afraid, because I swore I’d never be like her. But fuck me if I haven’t turned into that depressing, reclusive, manic crazy person who shuts out the whole world. Except she’s a selfish bitch. I at least missed the boat on that, mostly.

But I’m hopeful because it would make me feel relief to know that what I experience is happening for a reason. That my severe depressive episodes, intermingled with swings high up into the rafters, laughing, playful, energetic and making grandiose plans for my life, then back down to hyper anger, then back down to deep dark suicidal depression, that all of that is happening because of a real condition.

But I’m also hoping that’s not it, because I know I have real, valid reasons for being depressed. Loneliness does things to a sensitive, emotional person like me. It fucks me up. It really fucks me up. And yet it’s hard to let anyone in because of severe trust issues. But…but…does that explain the intermittent mania and mixed episodes? The incredible difficulties with sleep?

Whatever it is, please tell me it’s treatable. I can’t stand this suffering anymore.

Social Anxiety – I can’t stand to be in public. Just being in this room with you right here and right now is making my skin crawl. Are you looking at me askance? I saw the way you looked at my size. I saw the way you looked at my unkempt hair and wrinkled shirt. I know my hoodie isn’t professional like your pressed blazer. I’d live my life within the confines of my house if I could. But I can’t. So I exit the premises, each and every day, with great reluctance and lead in my stomach.

I hate grocery shopping and put it off until there’s nothing but tap water and moldy cheese left. Because of the people. They look at me. They think hateful thoughts about me. They whisper to each other about me. They accuse the contents of my cart. They snicker at the way I walk. This is how I feel, everywhere I go, in public. I don’t have friends; I don’t talk to my neighbors; I don’t socialize with my coworkers. I don’t leave the house unless it’s mandatory – work, grocery, fuel, etc.

As I entered the door here, to this counseling center, I wondered how many people I knew saw me. I wonder if the insurance company will report to my employer that I’m a headcase. I wonder if you’ll go home and tell your spouse about the neurotic woman who wasted your time today and dirtied up your couch with her presence. I fidget, I shake, my heart races. Can you help me coexist with other humans, without thinking everyone is out to get me? Can you help me not want to literally run and hide when some coworker asks me to lunch?

Can you help me be normal?

Self-Harm – I hurt myself. Not with knives or scissors. Not with booze or pills. I pick and rip and tear at my skin. Around my nails, on my chin, on my arms, on my thighs. It’s disgusting and shameful, and I can’t fucking stop. It hurts, and it scars. I don’t like it. I’ve tried hitting myself when I do it. It doesn’t work. I’ve tried coating sores in ointment, but I just wipe it off and do it again. The scars I have will always be there, but I’m tired of making new ones. I just don’t know how to stop.

I don’t want to hurt myself anymore.

Self-Worth – I don’t feel worthy of your time. I don’t feel like I deserve to be here, when there are people in greater need and more deserving than I am. I’m afraid you’ll find me insipid and petty. I don’t want you to tell me to fucking love myself, okay? If you tell me that, I may fucking walk out. Don’t do that. You’re a therapist; don’t fucking talk down to me with canned bullshit. You don’t tell someone who thinks she’s a piece of shit that everything will be right as rain if you just start loving yourself. Don’t you think I would if I could? I don’t feel like I deserve anything good or nice or lovely or pretty or sweet. But I’m here anyway.

I’m here anyway, because no matter how fucking hard I try to kill off my last piece of hope so I don’t get hurt. Again. For the zillionth time. I can’t stop hoping. Hoping for something better. Hoping someone will prove me wrong about myself. Hoping I’m worth it. Hoping there’s a reason to this charade called life. So I’m here. Talking with you.

Please give me reason to hope.

~

Forty-five minutes isn’t enough time. And I’m upset and anxiety-ridden that I have to return to work after this. You will rip things open and send me back out into the world. Please. I’m begging you. I’m begging the universe. Please make it worth it.

Please fix me.