The 4 Faces of Memee: Bipolar Me

4-faces-of-memee | Memee's Musings
A snapshot of one person trying to survive in 4 different chemical bodies.

Hi all,

It’s been a long, long while. I have been suffering with bipolar depression in a very extended way lately. Some people who don’t understand bipolar have the misperception that we suffer both the depressive side and the manic side equally. We don’t. Also, we’re all different in our levels of functionality at the various phases of the disorder. So I’ve been down and out of the game. I am on a new medication, Latuda, and I think it may finally be kicking in. I certainly hope so! It is supposed to relieve the symptoms of Bipolar Depression which is a very big deal for me as I have never had relief from this phase and it is the phase I suffer from the most frequently as well as it being the most catastrophically impactful for me.

Anyway, the picture above was put together back in December at the beginning of a manic phase which I will be sharing with you very soon. During mania I have many brilliant ideas and am extremely active. Unfortunately the mania does not last long and when it burns off suddenly my activities cease and my plots, plans, schemes come to an abrupt halt. For instance, this article had the headline written and the picture uploaded, and even a link to some statistical data but no body. Fortunately, I know my main intent was to go over my 4 “personalities” (for lack of a better description) that I am constantly trying to adjust to and live with.

Left to Right:

  1.  Deep Depression.  This is where I have been for the last several months.  My days in this state consist of sleeping (escaping my problems, but also I am exhausted physically and mentally), crying uncontrollably for no specific reason, staring at the ceiling or blank wall sometimes with no thoughts registering in my head and other times inundated with only negative recriminations for  being this person (something I cannot control) that suffers this chemical imbalance of the brain.  I’ll get up to pee and return immediately to bed.  I mostly drink my calories during this time as I have no energy or desire to even pour cereal into a bowl to eat.  I will bathe once a week but don’t remember to brush my teeth and do not bother brushing my hair or changing my clothes.  I am completely shut down.  Inhuman. Some days I am afraid to be alone because I fantasize about killing myself.  I know that is not the answer and it is really not an option.  Besides, in this state I am frozen in grief and depression so I do not act upon thoughts.  I “just” terrorize myself with them over and over again.  Visualizing myself killing myself.  It’s not fun, believe me.  It scares me and heightens my depressive state.

2.  “The Blahs”  This is where I live the majority of my life.  I still have difficulty with hygiene most days.  I am messy and tired.  I have zero focus, zero attention span, zero interests, zero motivation , and zero drive.  I do nothing but zone out on the computer or Netflix day after day.  My mind is chaotic and so is the environment around me.  It’s better than the deep depression but it is no life.  A waste.

3. Happy/Balanced.  This is my goal persona.  It is who I long to be.  I enjoy friendships and can hold onto a job.  I feel like I am pursuing goals and making real change in my life toward becoming this person authentically.  I bathe bi-daily, I pick up after myself, I eat and sleep in a normal pattern.  I have a life and recognized the blessing it is.  I may even be able to have a romantic relationship again!

4. Mania!   I am awesome!  You are awesome! Life is awesome!  I have big plans and they are, no matter how far-fetched, attainable!  I just got to follow my plans step by step and I’ll do it!  I will succeed at anything I try and I will try anything that interests me!  The world is my oyster, my cake, my playground!

The 4 Faces of Memee: Bipolar Me stats1 | Memee's Musings

So who is susceptible to  Bipolar Disorder?  Statistics sourced through Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance says that:

Bipolar Disorder Statistics from BDSA

©2017-2020 All rights reserved.

A Letter of Introduction – by Embeecee

via Letters to the Mind
Contributing Author: Embeecee

A letter of introduction | Letters to the MindI have been in therapy a good portion of my life and I don’t have a definitive diagnosis as such.  They keep changing it to suit the therapy group I’m participating with at the time.   I don’t know if they don’t know how to categorize people like me or if it’s ME, because part of my own complaint is the ability to morph into what I think the ‘person in charge’ wants to hear.

In the latest therapy effort, I’ve tried hard not to do that and to be as honest as I can about my problems.   I still feel pretty mixed up about it all though.   I do a group therapy session about once a week (it’s a long drive and our weather has been bad, plus I’ve been sick a lot this winter so far) so I don’t always make the group session.   In that group we deal with addictions of various kinds, of which I didn’t ever really think I had any, save food, and so I have been resistant to the process. Others deal with drugs, alcohol, sexual addictions and the usual type of stuff.  I’ve felt like an outsider.   I’m also a good deal older than most of the women who attend that group, and I’m further along (in my own estimation) in the healing/dealing process.

It’s been odd therefore to realize that in that group I’ve discovered some depths to my own mental illness that I hadn’t considered before.   The group is a trauma group, all of us in there have suffered some sort of traumatic event, whether it is childhood or spousal abuse, abandonment, physical abuse or whatever fits under the umbrella of “abuse.”

And again I’m worried that I over-identify with the ailments of the other patients. One has pretty severe OCD and through her sharing I’ve identified some traits of that in myself.   I always knew I had elements of OCD, but I thought they were pretty minor (I continue to think that), so I never thought I ‘had’ OCD.

I overthink things.  And this ‘letter of introduction’ if you want to call it such is getting too long.

My own problems include:

  • Chronic depression
  • Dysthymia (or major depression)
  • Insomnia
  • Possible bipolar II (depressive bipolar disorder)
  • Possible BPD (borderline personality disorder)
  • Very mild (to me) OCD
  • Agoraphobia (very mild)
  • Social phobia/anxiety
  • Slight paranoia

It sounds really stark and overwhelming listed out that way.   I don’t think if you met me IRL, you’d even suspect any of these.   I have learned over decades to hide them well.  Privately I know I have some issues and I’m not comfortable around people.   Someone recently told me I have a true introverted nature, which in psycho-speak means I draw energy from myself best, and I expend it when I have to be around other people.   Being in crowds exhausts me and I don’t do well if I’m forced to wait for things or if someone is holding up the progression.   I find that I’m becoming more vocal about it, and this leads me to want to stay home.   I’m embarrassed by being that way, but I’m finding it happens more and more.   People stare at you if you are grumbling to yourself about what an asshole the guy in front is being.   Or if you openly ask this asshole if they are EVER going to conclude their business and get the %$@# out of your way.   I have anger issues.

Well that’s enough about it for today.   Thanks for inviting me here and for listening.

Author’s note: I was invited to Letters of the Mind by B.L. Memee of Memee’s Musings, and I thank her for offering this chance to address mental illness in a safe venue.


About the author:

I’m Melanie. I have been diagnosed with major chronic depression.   I also deal with social phobia and anxiety.

I’m a 56 year old woman who was born and raised, and remains in Utah in the United States of America. I have degenerative bone disease (type undiagnosed), diabetes and the mental health issues [I’ve discussed], and therefore I am under disability and retired now. I am widowed (going on five years in February). I live alone and have one pet, and I prefer it this way. I am considered reserved. I am Mormon in faith, but I am not judgemental nor do I consider myself holier than thou or anything. I try to be open-minded and accepting of everyone. I TRY.  🙂

Blog: Sparks From a Combustible Mind

“Life Is Not Waiting for the Storm to Pass; It’s About Learning to Dance in the Rain.”

☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀

Please, if your life is impacted by mental illness help spread awareness and understanding by writing to that illness and sharing it at Letters of the Mind blog project.

Click here to Contribute.

☀ Memee

Submitted to Letters to the Mind by Embeecee Dec 2015
A Letter of Introduction post: © Embeecee (Author) & Letters to the Mind (Publisher) 2015-2017. All rights reserved.
A Letter of Introduction by Embeecee post © Memee’s Musings, 2016-2018. All rights reserved.

SCARS – By Sarah Waters

via Letters to the Mind
Contributing Author: Sarah Waters

Scars | Letters of the Mind

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Ghandi

The wonderful photograph was taken by Maria Victoria Heredia Reyes and acquired through Unsplash. It’s a great source for free photos under the Creative Commons Zero license, so check it out!

About the author:
I am a survivor of incest, teen pregnancy, emotional abuse and multiple family estrangements. It sent me to the edge of suicide but I stepped back and have been finding my way ever since. I have begun the healing process and now try to share with others in hopes of making sure no one feels alone in their pain.  In “Scars” I address emotional scars, self-doubt and internal struggles.

SCARS

What to make of scars,
so pitiful and weak.
Oh, physical scars,
how I envy you,
those of skin and bone.
You can be seen.
You scab over, heal,
pain ultimately subsides.
But oh, the scars of the heart,
they’re jagged, deep –
I’m amazed my heart still beats.
You’re hidden, unseen,
with pain that never quite
goes away.
Emotional scars,
oh how you lie,
pretending to be healed
while cruelly laughing,
waiting to rip open,
to make me doubt the progress
I have made.
You shout, “Look at me!
Remember me?”
Yes, I remember you well.
You remind me where I’ve been.
You helped make me who I am.
But you don’t own me anymore –
your time is past.
You are only a scar, not
my innermost being.

Blog: Breaking Sarah – Bruised Not Broken

☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀

Please, if your life is impacted by mental illness help spread awareness and understanding by writing to that illness and sharing it at Letters of the Mind blog project.

Click here to Contribute.

☀ Memee

☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀

Submitted to Letters to the Mind by Sarah Waters Jan 2016
Original Poem: Scars © Sarah Waters – Breaking Sarah – Bruised, Not Broken 2016-2018. All rights reserved.
Scars by Sarah Waters post © Memee’s Musings, 2016-2018. All rights reserved.

The Goblin Known as Anxiety and Stress – by Lewis Bull

via Letters to the Mind
Contributing Author Facebook: Lewis Bull ; Twitter: @lewisbull92

Art by Hababoon

Though I’ve had anxiety for most of my life it’s not until the past 7-8 years that I’ve really begun to really suffer from it.

Four years ago was when it all really started for me, it was within this time that I became ever more isolated with anxiety taking its full control, from things like job interviews to daily walks into town I began to figure this is me this is how I am.

Along with this stress crept in too, again I figured this was just me being me.

From being overly stressed anxious/nervous in public places or even at home, this is the way life went for me for what seemed a lifetime.

Then at the beginning of this year I couldn’t handle the pressure being put on me anymore I quit job hunting, and for those months of doing gloriously nothing, it re-surged in probably its worst way, I gave in and started taking medication to handle it and am now on my third course of CBT this time intensive CBT and I can feel it starting to help and I started to realize there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

In terms of perhaps not completely not getting rid of it but instead I picture myself facing the goblin with a shotgun and seriously wounding it (I look forward to this day and what a picture it will be!).

This is Lewis Bull saying I will not let this control the rest of my life!

© Lewis Bull 2015


About the author:

I’m 23 years old, as child I had a moderate learning difficulty and went to a school for those who suffer from moderate to severe learning disabilities.
As my anxiety worsened I stopped attending family occasions (though I thought it was perfectly natural but instead later realised it was my anxiety), never have I indulged in typical teenage behaviour e.g. drinking or even just hanging out with friends instead I remained in anxiety imposed solitude.
After I finished 3 years of college, the first immediate thought was to find work, there in started my long battle with stress and anxiety, though I’ve always suffered from stress and anxiety it was in my later teenage years that it really became relevant, It was in the middle of this year that things started to change from seeing family who understand and sympathise with my issues and finding new friends who themselves suffer from anxiety and stress.
Facebook: Lewis Bull
Twitter: @lewisbull92
“If I leave here tomorrow would you still remember me?” – Ronnie van Zant and Allen Collins of Lynyrd Skynyrd

☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀

Please, if your life is impacted by mental illness help spread awareness and understanding by writing to that illness and sharing it at Letters of the Mind blog project.

Click here to Contribute.

☀ Memee

Out of the Darkness

Ending the stigma against mental illness is a big part of my blogging.  It is why I share my own diagnosis and feature other people’s stories of mental illness; it is why I co-host a separate blog, Letters to the Mind, where other people can post their stories of living with mental illness.

If you’ve been following my blog for over a year you know that we suffered a great loss to suicide in August of 2015, which lead to a poem about that loss, three articles, and the #ASKFORHELP poetry challenge. One of my firm beliefs, as someone with a mental illness, and as someone who has frequently felt there was no way out other than death, I believe that Isolation Kills! And the only way I know to end the isolation is to talk, share, and educate those around us so that the fear for mental illness and those with it alleviates and we can become embraced by the rest of the world.

#askforhelp | Memee's Musings

I am sad to report that last month we lost another young person close to us to suicide, 14-year-old Nina.  It breaks my heart and indeed makes me angry that we live in a world where children are not carefree, where they have enormous stresses and not enough support systems (or fear sharing their struggles) that the only way they can end their pain is through suicide.

Suicide changes the lives of 1 in 5 people. That stat alone means this is common.  There is no reason whatsoever to justify families believing that struggles with suicidal thoughts, actions, successes or failures should be taboo and kept as “dirty little secrets.”

Yesterday I participated in our community’s Out of the Darkness walk hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  I didn’t like being a part of the community, but it is a truth and my need to raise awareness to the prevalence of the problem is so much more important than my own personal comfort.  I cried.  I wasn’t alone though. Everyone there had lost someone or made attempts themselves.  We formed a team in honor of Baily and Nina and raised several hundred dollars toward  raising awareness, education, and the pursuit to end the stigma.

We all wore beads representing our loss.  I wore four bead strands.  Three for losses of friends/relatives and one for having attempted suicide myself.  Once we began walking the tears subsided and the mission began.  I will definitely do the walk again.

The first Out of the Darkness walk had 4000.  Now a quarter of a million people walk!  If you have lost someone or struggle with mental illness, or simply want to help raise awareness, WALK.  And support those who walk.  Thank you!

Bipolar Be Gone!

Hello, my friends!

You’ve been ever so patient with me (I think).  I mean, I haven’t gotten any hate mail from anyone for disappearing on you for so long.  It’s been four and a half months since my last post, the erotic flash fiction story entitled, In Our Little Yellow Tent.  It has been seven months since I was posting regularly… April of 2016!  I cannot say time flies or that it got away from me.  I wrote only one piece in May called Simply put that explained why I had been absent for a while:  I moved from California where I wanted to be, back to Washington, where I didn’t want to be; however, my mental health necessitated it. (If curious you can learn why in my posts entitled, Agonizing Turmoil and Persona Non Grata. But that wasn’t the big thing keeping me away from blogging, the big thing was depression and I wrote about how I was feeling at that time.  Well it never got any better. In fact, it only got worse.

This week I feel I have turned a corner.  You see, when I moved to California last year I went off my bipolar medication.  Not because I wanted to or thought I could. I just failed to seek out a new doctor.  Perhaps subliminally I felt that it wouldn’t last… the hopes and dreams I had about my future.  I mean, never in my life have things worked out the way I hoped they would.  But really, let me be honest here, rationally I know that is true for everyone.  But that is the thing with depression and especially bipolar depression.  It sucks everything out of you; literally everything.  Anyway, I started back on meds last month and they are finally kicking in.  I am also taking 600 mg of St. John’s Wort daily and use essential oil aromatherapy when I need an extra boost.

To read more about my bipolar journey please visit my bipolar posts category.

Rather than going into a long-winded account of how it all works I want to share with you, reblog if you will, from a wonderful writer who is clear and succinct (unlike me!) And although she lives in England we walk a similar life path.  I followed her blog regularly and when others wanted to understand bipolar better, I would send them to her blog. Sadly, she took it down many months ago.  Tonight I found a wonderful blog post she wrote about bipolar depression in my email and that is what prompted me to write to you this evening. Everything she says in this post is true of me except for the hallucinations.  Thank goodness I don’t have that on top of everything else.  Don’t worry though, I do plan on being here all week.  And have set the goal to begin doing at least one Flash Fiction story a month for the year 2017!  See, I am feeling hopeful once again and ready to go!  Or maybe I’m just hitting a short term manic phase.  That is, after all, entirely possible.  But I hope not!  Think good thoughts for me!

So with no further ado, I introduce you to my fellow Bipolar sufferer, Brighton Bipolar:

Bipolar: Depression

by brightonbipolar

Depression means different things to different people and everyone experiences their own personal low points with varying symptoms. As a Bipolar sufferer, my own struggles with depression are probably very similar to those many other people have to endure on a daily basis. For those without first hand knowledge of how difficult it can be to function in a depressed state, I hope my words can give a bit of insight into the darkness that clouds us both mentally and physically.

For me, depression can come on in waves, like a tidal change, slowly getting progressively stronger and threatening to drown me at any moment. One minute everything seems fine and the next, an all enveloping fog descends, giving the world around me a grey tinge and a sense of foreboding. It’s not always something I can predict or prepare for – Some days I simply wake up to find everything around me has slightly changed, like the world has tilted and I’m still upright wondering where the dizzy, sick feeling In the pit of my stomach has come from.

My Whole Body Aches – Depression can actually manifest itself as physical pain. It feels like I’ve run a marathon with every inch of my body aching, which makes walking around or even standing up very difficult. This is often accompanied by migraines or headaches, adding to the feeling of being completely drained and not wanting to move. Symptoms can be very similar to those of severe Influenza.

Chronic Fatigue – Coupled with the aches and pains, comes the overwhelming tiredness. Like being totally drained of energy to the point where simply getting out of bed seems too exhausting a prospect to even consider. All I want to do is sleep (during these times I sleep a minimum of roughly 16 hours per 24 hour period) and every day tasks like taking a shower or getting dressed are impossible without assistance (my husband has washed and dressed me many times over the years, when I simply don’t possess the strength).

The need for Isolation – Lacking energy and being in physical pain isn’t exactly conducive to socialising. At these times I have a desperate need to be on my own and fear leaving the house or having to interact with anyone. It’s almost like a phobia and the thought of going ‘Outside’ away from the safety of my home is terrifying.

Uncontrollable Emotions – When in a depressive phase my emotions are in chaos and I have very little control over them or how they manifest themselves. This results in violent, unexplainable anger at times or more often, uncontrollable bouts of crying. I don’t mean a few tears – but gut wrenching sobbing that can go on for hours without reason or warning.

Suicidal Thoughts – It’s during these dark times that I find myself wondering if the struggle is worth it. The idea of ending the mental and physical pain becomes a very seductive one and a lot of my time alone is spent planning and organising my own ‘Exit Plan’.

Self-esteem and Self-worth Simply Vanish – There seems to be no reason for my existence and I can see no positive aspects of my life at all. In my mind, I’m a burden on those around me and cause everyone nothing but heartache. Looking through the fog of depression I see (what I feel at the time is) the reality of my situation – I am universally despised by everyone and my life has no value. At times, I’m overcome by paranoid thoughts which can take the form of either aural or visual hallucinations, confirming in my mind, my way of thinking.

These depressive phases can, for me, last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks or when in a state of ‘Rapid Cycling’ I can jump from depression to mania several times in one day. Trying to ‘Mask’ or ‘Hide’ my symptoms is very stressful, tiring and all consuming – I don’t doubt that the effort used to try to appear ‘Normal’ contributes to my irregular mood swings and general exhaustion.

No matter what others may tell you, depression is a serious condition which should always be treated with respect and understanding. Living with the symptoms can be as debilitating as those of many severe physical illnesses and should never be taken lightly.

brightonbipolar | June 14, 2015 at 3:41 pm | Tags: Bipolar, depressed, depression, mental health, symptoms | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/p66ClX-2f

Original Blog entitled Bipolar: Depressed © BrightonBipolar, 2015-2017 All rights reserved.
Bipolar Be Gone! post © Memee’s Musings, 2016-2018. All rights reserved.

Simply put

So I have been back in Washington for just under a month now and I am not doing well at all. I am physically and emotionally exhausted all of the time. I have zero interest in blogging and make zero effort at seeing those people that I “missed so much” when I was in California. I have done very little school work and my new job hasn’t begun yet.

I found out I will have orientation next week, on Tuesday, for the new job and how I feel today is, “Geez, can I even hold a job? I’m so lost. Whatever, guess we’ll find out.”

So, yeah, that’s why I haven’t been around. I’m in the doldrums and wishing I could just go back to sleep. Second-guessing the smartness of coming back here (or lack of smarts). Simply put, I am not happy.

I wish that it didn’t cost an unreasonable amount to live there. I wish I could have stayed. But working 40+ hours a week and only being able to afford a tiny room in someone’s house didn’t make sense. Not when I was on a course toward putting my life together and making something of myself. And I couldn’t stay where I was, that was tearing me apart mentally.

Now I am just totally off course and without direction. I don’t feel the me inside of me any longer. Just emptiness. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that I don’t have Ms. Passive-Aggressive wounding my pride every day. But now I just feel like, well, I don’t feel like anything. I don’t feel human. I don’t feel pain or happiness, just blah, nothing-blah.

I guess I need meds. But I have zero energy to jump through a zillion hoops to get them.