Bipolar Dreamer, life long Creative Christian Writer, well educated but unemployed Survivor who lives with Severe Multiple Mental Health Issues most significant being Aspergers Syndrome And Bipolar I Disorder
I was recently really sick for two weeks. Psychosis returned and I ended up staying one night in a local psychiatric hospital. After I got out of the hospital and got stable, I decided I had to block two people on linkedin. They were both friends a long time ago but I haven’t seen them in years and might never see them again. I decided they both triggered me. Sometimes I wonder if I made the right decision. But if someone bothers you enough and asks you questions you don’t want to answer and another completely ignores you, why hold on to them?
Let’s back up here. Everyone knows what I’m talking about here, right? You are on Facebook or Linkedin or Twitter or whatever you choose for social media. You see an inspiring post by a former classmate. Or maybe you heard your former high school crush just got married or got a great job and you want to congratulate them. What do you decide to do? 1.) You contact them directly by phone because you still have their cell number. 2.) You email them because it’s been too many years and you probably aren’t in their book of phone contacts anymore. 3.) You phone a mutual friend to make sure it’s okay and plan for when you’re ready. 4.) You decide to say goodbye to both of them because it’s been too many years and too many things have changed.
Now these are all viable options and every one of them is acceptable. But for people living with Aspergers and Severe mental illness/es such as myself, this kind of decision can be extremely crippling. I hate do this but I am going share something here that is really personal. I liked this guy for a long time and I left Facebook in 2011, glad to be free of him and happy to let him go to lead his own life but keeping my connection open with him on Linkedin.
I got re-connected with of one of our former classmates and at first, it was great. But then things got weird. I’m not going to specify who this person was or anything about them. I’m going to speak in the neutral gender here. I chose to let this person back into my life (well through email and phone not literally in my life) and it was a big mistake. After about two years of correspondence with the classmate, after I got out of the hospital and got stable I realized had to break ties with both of them.
They both ended up triggering me and making me feel bad about myself. The old crush indirectly but the acquaintance of the old crush directly. He/She kept asking me questions that I didn’t want to answer and it started giving me migraines. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make because I know He/She was just trying to help. But I started to feel that both of them were jumping on me and I had to run. Run fast. Get the heck out of where I was and move forward. So, now, my life is pretty awful getting over this. I have lost a lot of sleep and I’m a mess. So I pray for their health and success and my health and success. I now bid them adios (goodbye) siempre (always). I can’t keep looking backward when I’m trying hard to move forward. I have to put myself first and get healthy and strong again. Goodbye pain, self doubt, anxiety, and insomnia. Hello hope, faith, and determination. We have to be our own best friends.
I have so much time and nowhere to go. I am thankful that I learned how to entertain myself at a young age. I have a lot of things that I can do to make myself happy and pass the time. It’s still not easy being stuck at home all of the time. My sister gave me one of the official masks but my mom still doesn’t think it’s wise for me to go anywhere. Mom takes advantage of the hours especially for the elderly at the grocery store. I joked about buying a gray wig on amazon.com. But I would never actually do it. What I can’t understand is, I ordered the Mr. Rogers Documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? And I never got it even though they said it was delivered. I don’t know why someone would steal that. I have kept myself busy with a Great Courses class on Nutrition, playing video games, reading, doing crossword puzzles, watching stuff on Netflix and Amazon Prime, and occasionally doing my yoga classes online and doing church services.
I have spent a little time on researching agents but I haven’t been bored enough to work a lot on my book. I haven’t been inspired because it’s at the point where it’s going to be the most difficult to reminice. I have written a draft and I’m sure that I’ll have to make a lot of corrections. I probably do at least four crossword puzzles every day. I still occasionally play the piano. Yes, I’m reteaching myself. I read somewhere that playing music was just beneficial to your mind as reading. If I’m remembering correctly. I can play Misty and a few other songs pretty well. My right hand is better than my left because I’m unsure of a few of the chords.
Today we had a zoom family session and it was really nice to see everyone. I said we should do it every weekend. It’s good to connect online and I’m getting used to using my webcam again. My yoga studio has livestream classes and I just briefly use the webcam because I think it’s distracting to have people’s videos up. It’s just like when you are in class, you can’t help but look and see what everyone is doing. The beauty about yoga is that no one is judging you.
My bio feedback therapist decided she didn’t want to make me wait until after the quarantine to have therapy so her assistant comes twice per week to do bio feedback with me. He’s a really nice guy and he’s kind of my key to the outside world right now. I feel bad for him because he’s alone. I feel bad for everyone who is alone right now. I have discovered spotify and I like it very much. Almost everyone song that I wanted to buy on itunes is on there. Since my phone is not doing very well and it is my only working ipod, my brother suggested spotify.
Okay now to get serious. I have to start with this picture. When I was on vacation with my dad I was feeling pretty good but I was remembering some things that were a little bit painful. My dad helped me enjoy myself and relax but the thing that helped me the most was eating a nice dinner and finding this shirt. “Take Time To Be Kind” Hard Rock Café Honolulu, HI. A couple years back, I found a quote by the late Kurt Vonnegut. Kurt said, “There’s only one rule that I know of, babies-“God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” Since my parents named me Charity that is something that I have tried to always be: kind and compassionate. I don’t always succeed especially when I’m relapsing but I think that it’s an important message. I can be pretty mean and hard to live with when I am unwell. There is too much hate in the world right now…Let’s all strive together to have this as one of our goals. To me it doesn’t matter who you are, what you what you believe as long as you are kind to me and my friends and family and don’t yell and cuss a lot, you’re okay in my book.
Everyone who knows me knows I love to shop but rarely find anything in the stores that fits me the way I want it to fit. But I was shopping at Target and they had this tank top. It was paraphrasing a quote by Mahatma Gandhi. It says “Be The Change You Wish To See In The World.” I bought a magnet several years ago that introduced me to this saying and it has always been one of my favorites. The amazing thing about this shirt for me is that it empowers me to be my best self. But when I’m sick I get so cynical and depressed about it thinking I’m useless and have no purpose here. I constantly have to be reminded by my mother that I made a difference just by being born. I have never gotten more compliments on anything I was wearing in my life if you don’t count when I got really dressed up for the weddings i was in. I was in the middle of relapse when I had my dad take this photo. It will probably be the only time I include a photo from the dark times.
Okay bare with me I just have two more photos. I could feature different quotes every month I have found so many good ones but I will just share two more with you. I have finally been given permission to include a quote on my blog from one of my personal heroes, Pat Deegan. She is a survivor who lives with Schizophrenia and is one of the most successful people I have ever met. She travels the world to promote her program Common Ground and trains peer specialists and does all kinds of other stuff I don’t even know about. I wish I would have taken notes when I met her but she treated me as an equal. Even though I am not schizophrenic, back in 1999 that was the first diagnosis they gave me because I was psychotic. Anyway, sorry for rambling but here’s her quote.
My goal is to write in such a way that people will have hope and hopefully will relate to some of the things I write about…I wish that I could just write whatever but I am very sensitive to negative feedback. That’s why I have been writing my book for so long and haven’t been more aggressive in trying to publish it because it has some references to God. I hope my friend knows how thankful I am for her. Even if we never talk again I will always remember she opened my eyes to so many things that I used to be afraid to look at or I felt uncomfortable about. Some folks on youtube and a discussion forum for depression made me feel really bad about myself and I considered giving up posting comments but since it’s anonymous I will continue as long as people don’t trigger me. I have learned not to take everything other people say personally especially when you don’t really know them in real life. Of course, that is much easier said that done.
The final quote is from Kay Jamison I wasn’t able to find a way to get her permission but I am sure she won’t mind. She really helped me when I met her after I told her all of my diagnoses, my degree, and my dream job I asked her if she thought that I would ever be able to work. She said and looked right at me, “There’s always hope.” 2008 was a very tough year for me but meeting her and some other peers at a Depression And Bipolar Support Alliance conference made a huge difference in my life. That’s where I met Pat Deegan too.
Thank you for your patience my dear readers. I hope this is your best year yet!
I recently had a month and half relapse. I didn’t stop my medications I just was stressed,
anxious, and frustrated because I was having a hard time sleeping. I started rapid cycling between hypo mania
and depression. It started off with a
volunteer opportunity not working out and almost running out of my medication.
Relapses do not mean you are a failure and you have to
be ashamed of yourself. As long as you
seek help from others and are trying to get better then you have nothing to be
ashamed of. Relapses are a very common
part of the recovery process. It is
important to contact your psychiatrist and therapist the moment you think you
might be relapsing so that you can begin receiving the extra support and
treatment you need right away.
Sometimes this means a medication adjustment…sometimes you need
to better use the coping mechanisms you already have. Victoria Maxwell wrote a great article on how
to prevent relapse.
Every time I get sick again I hope it will be the last time
but I know my life is never going to be easy living with several mental
illnesses. I don’t mean to sugar coat relapse
because it a really awful thing. I just refuse
to let look back on it and let it ruin the rest of my life. Sometimes the nicest things happen even when I
feel terrible. I was sitting outside at
a coffee shop feeling lonely and depressed and someone bought me a cup of decaf. I was
crying walking home from where I had tried to volunteer and I got to talk to my
best friend and he was a great listener.
For me, music is a
very important coping mechanism as long as I’m not experiencing migraines. When I listen to music lyrics are most
important. I have done karaoke four
different times in my life. My favorite
was the most recent time when I was in Santa Cruz at a family friendly bar that
opened earlier than most karaoke joints.
I sang Country Roads By John Denver.
I thought it would be so much fun to have someone to sing with depending
on the song choice and the partners’ vocal range. My mom thought it would be funny if my dad
and I sang the old song Anything You Can Do.
It was a duet in a the movie Annie Get Your Gun sung by Howard Keel and
Betty Hutton. “I can do anything better
than you can…” etc.
Coping with relationship loss Song
I have been told
in the past that I shouldn’t take lyrics too much to heart because there are so
many possible interpretations. After I
had a relationship with someone end, I told one of my bffs that Love Song By
Sara Bareilles was my favorite song that would always remind me of him. My BFF had a completely different
interpretation of the song. She said it
just sounded like Sara was telling her agent she didn’t want to write a sappy
love song because it wasn’t her style. I
still think of my ex when I hear the song but it’s not a longing anymore. It’s a ‘I’m so glad that he’s not in my life
anymore’ type of a song and it’s very encouraging and empowering!
2.) Encouraging Me To Be My Best Self
There are so many
of these. It’s hard for me to pick just
one and they constantly change depending on my moods. My most current favorite is called Little
Wonders By Rob Thomas. Sometimes it
helps my mind stop racing when I think about the future and appreciate the
small good things that happen in the present.
As I mentioned in
my last post, I watch Carpool Karaoke regularly on YouTube. I appreciate the classics like Stevie Wonder
and Elton John the most but it introduces to me to some of the more popular
artists than the Millenials enjoy. Stevie
Wonder is definitely my favorite so far.
I even enjoyed Celine Dion even though I’m not a big fan of her
music. Spoiler alert: At the end of the video
she and James wear wigs and get on a boat and do a parody of “My Heart Will Go
On.” I got so sick of that song playing
over and over on the radio so I got a good laugh out of that. I wish I could thank James Corden for Carpool
Karaoke…it does get a little naughty sometimes but I still really enjoy
it. Maybe someday I’ll make a friend
that loves Karaoke as much as he does.
Find songs that make you happy and enjoy your life! Until next time, my friends! My next post will be on how to find
inspiration in unlikely places!
I am sorry. I accidentally wrote that the bolsters in classes I attend in class are softer than the one I bought. Actually the opposite is true. I love my bolster. The ones in the classes I have attended are really uncomfortable for my low back. Sorry for the confusion. I am still learning how to edit these posts. My next blog will be about music lyrics and how they have been very influential in my life and some of the songs that have inspired me to and encouraged me to strive to be my best self.
Sometimes when I feel sad I watch Carpool Karaoke on YouTube and it’s my only current favorite television show that is really popular. James Corden is a British actor who is a television host who works in Los Angeles. He drives around LA and calls a friend (usually musicians but sometimes actors) and asks for help getting to work. In California you only need two people to drive in the carpool lane and it saves a ton of time. I was looking up song lyrics on YouTube one day and it came up on my screen and now I am totally hooked. I don’t always like all of the musicians he picks but it is a really funny show. Check it out…you might like it.
I am increasing my confidence in communicating with the opposite sex while riding Uber & Lyft. I have two best girlfriends. One I have known since I was 6 and the other since I was almost 26. Both are married, one has 3 daughters. She is a few years younger than me but is wise beyond her years. The other is less than 1 year older than me and knows me better than almost anyone else on the planet. They both have patiently listened to all of the dramas and high points in my dating history. One is a great listener and the other makes me laugh when I am sad. The funny one made me watch 40 year old virgin after I broke up with an older guy. My ex was not like him at all! They both taught me that I don’t need a man to be happy and I can never settle for the wrong guy. I deserve the best.
They both know that I haven’t been on a real date for a long time. I’ve been asked out a few times since but I have learned that taking things slow is the best approach. I will suggest coffee first. Riding Uber and Lyft reminds me of when I used to have several male friends on the internet. You can say anything you want to. You can create a different version of yourself and there’s no commitment because you get a different driver every time.
So I’m not into lying but I have come up with the same safe script for every driver, male or female. It’s still easier for me to communicate by email or text than in person.
Hi, How are you ____?
Where are you from? (listen, wait for them to ask). I’m from WV originally but I live in CA now.
What do you like to do for fun? (listen, wait). I like to travel and write and do yoga.
If they ask what I do I say I’m in transition. I do stuff at my church.
I ask them if they like their job.
It’s really fun b/c every driver is different. If they’re nice and don’t prod for personal information, I give them a big tip. Otherwise I only give them two or three dollars. I thank them and leave. The first time I did it alone I was a little scared but now I really enjoy it since I don’t go to bars. I will be okay being single for the rest of my life as long as I have family and friends and a dog or two. So, guess what single people you can survive without dating! I have! Yes, I will admit…the idea of meeting someone when I am doing karaoke in Santa Cruz, reading at church, or volunteering at the school has a lot of appeal…who knows where life will lead me. But I am running towards myself and my goals…not going to let anyone stand in my way.