Monday, September 24, 2007
There is something that a lot of you probably don't know and it's not something that I tell just anyone and that is that I have Bipolar Disorder. I'm always afraid that it will lower peoples opinions of me, which I'm sure is true in many cases but I will tell all of you because of my sense that you are all kind and won't judge me.
I was only diagnosed about a year ago. Sadly, I've been having symptoms since I was young and no doctor or counsellor ever caught it. So, I started taking medicine last year and there has been dramatic and amazing changes in me. The changes were so dramatic that I suppose they lulled me into a false sense of security. I thought that my problems were over.
It's very hard to be bipolar and not know that you are. Because you blame yourself for things that are not actually in your control. You know that you are different than other people but you don't know why. Many people are angry when they find out. I was relieved because I finally understood what had been wrong all these years and I was given hope that things could improve. The only thing that I was angry about was that no-one helped me a long time ago because I certainly did seek help....many times.
I cannot stress how much this disease has reached it's tentacles into my life in every possible way for over twenty years. Therefore, to try and completely separate it from who I am is difficult and would end up being not telling the truth and causes other, more practical challenges.
Bipolar Disorder involves a lot of self-monitoring. The doctor often has no way of knowing what is going on inside of you but what you tell them, unless you get so bad that it is completely obvious. There are no laboratory tests for this, no x-rays, just you and your family or friends to recognize that an attack is coming so that you can head it off before it gets too bad. Before you develop the full blown symptoms there is still time for you to recognize that they are coming and do something about them. Therefore it is important for you to know what your symptoms are leading up to the attack.
I have difficulty knowing when something that I am experiencing is something that I should tell the Dr. and when it is something insignificant because I still don't know too much about myself apart from the symptoms.... it's hard to explain. I'm afraid that I'm not quite sure what normal is.
I have recently come to realize that I am not nearly as stable as I thought that I was. I am not feeling well now and I think that maybe this has been coming for awhile and that I just didn't recognize it...or maybe I did recognize it but I just didn't think it would be this bad.
There is something called hypo mania, this is what I get. The person never goes into full blown mania. They get high energy and creative and its fun. You feel like you can finally keep up with everyone else as opposed to when on the downswing when you feel like you can't keep up with anything. A person constantly feels guilty about being depressed, you feel like you are letting everyone down. So when you are up, it makes you feel like you are the same as everyone else and you don't live with that feeling of self-blame and weariness. And it is because of exactly this that people tend to not address the early symptoms which are called pro-dromal symptoms, it is a perpetual trap that people with Bipolar Disorder fall into. And I knew this and did it anyway.
I knew that I was getting a little 'wild' but frankly, I liked the way that I felt so much that I suppose that I felt like the risk was worth it. But believe me, its not. Well....live and learn.
*************************************************************************************I assume that everyone has heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is a mood disorder like Bipolar Disorder. People have lights prescribed to them by the Doctor. Bipolar people are not supposed to use those lights without talking to a Dr. It can make them manic. When Spring came and the days started getting longer, I started having symptoms, I almost went to the Doctor, but they lessened.
Then I almost went in June when I found I couldn't stop crying about the Madeleine McCann case that I posted about in June, about the little girl who was abducted in Portugual. Then I started not being able to eat and this made me foggy. And etc..etc...and now look at me.
I hate being fragile, and I am fragile. Any little thing can throw me off. Not getting enough to eat, not getting enough to sleep, stress, hormones.....nearly anything! It really sucks!
I have been having a difficult time at my job and the stress of this has caused me to have a relapse. Plainly, the job is just wrong for someone with my condition. I am much more suited for a job where my rapid thoughts will be a merit rather than a handicap. I have a job where you have to concentrate, but on meaningless details. And when things get too fast, I get confused and can't keep up. I keep getting in trouble and it's getting to be too much for me, the job itself but also knowing that for me, it is a dead-end.
I went out on FMLA for 2 weeks, and have gone back to work on a reduced schedule. I talked to them about the Bipolar Disorder and they told me that when I don't feel like I can work, I need to take FMLA, not to come in. And if I do come in, I will be held responsible for whatever happens. If I had to work tonight, I don't know if I would be able to. My FMLA protects me from being fired for calling in, but it doesn't feel very good to take off work and leave the place short-staffed, it puts a lot of pressure on me.
I know that ultimately, I will not be working there forever, it is just a matter of when the job ends, not if. People tell me I should quit but this is where I have my health insurance and frankly, I don't know if I am up to starting a new job right now.
Since I am bipolar, I am probably eligible for some type of assistance. But the thing is, I have a job and they are going to look at that as...I am working so it can't be as bad as I say. I have an appointment to talk to someone on October 1st and I am going to tell them this, since it is the truth. I still have my job because I was cagey, and that is probably the main reason. And sometimes I wonder if it is ethical to keep doing what I am doing when I am not well.
Once I got really excited about Courtroom Reporting but I don't think that I could probably do that either. I probably couldn't handle the pressure and I would probably have days when I couldn't focus. I have always thought that I would like to be a paralegal too but the truth is that that is probably too stressful for me too. I would be working in an office with people and people really stress me out sometimes. There are times that I would probably be less effective and this would surely cause problems.
I have tentatively decided what I want to do, though I still have some people to talk to. I would like a vocational evaluation which could help me decide what I could expect to be able to handle and what I probably couldn't. What I am considering now is Web Design. I think that I would really like it.
It isn't that I can't concentrate at all, but there are only certain things that I can consistently concentrate on. One of my defining qualities is that I am full of crazy mad ideas which would be quite a plus. I think that I could be good at it. I think that I would like it and I believe that I could handle the stress of doing this better than other types of stress.
And I seem to do so much better when I have some way of channeling some of my creativity, which I experience almost like a physical urge. Which is why I took so well to blogging. When I blog, my head stops whirling around and I can actually concentrate.
Well anyway, lately I can write and watch TV, but am having trouble reading. I just can't concentrate. So sorry I haven't been around too much. Hope you understand.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
The 10 of swords is a card that can strikes terror in the heart of one who receives it. (That is if you actually believe in Tarot) Even if you don't believe in Tarot it could be startling to receive this gruesome card, especially if it was an accurate reflection of what is occurring in your life.
So, of course you probably know what I am leading up to. I got this card the other night....5 TIMES!! Yikes! It almost made me want to throw my Tarot deck away from me and run screaming out of the room. It almost made me want to perform an exorcism.:)
This card, you will not be surprised to know, is sometimes called defeat, and defeat is something that nobody welcomes. But defeat can also open new doors. For once someone has done everything that they can possibly do, there is no choice but to move on and start considering different options And once the initial shock of the defeat is over, leaving the path that you have been trudging down so wearily and starting on a new untried path can be a heady and liberating experience! Defeat is not something that anyone looks forward to but after years of being terrified by horrifying cards like this, we Tarot readers tend to come up with alternate meanings for them that are a little less discomfiting, which is one of the really cool things about the Tarot.
There is an another amusing interpretation of this card in Rachel Pollack's book, 78 degrees of wisdom, (which I would highly recommend even if you are not into Tarot, it is full of unintentional poetry and life lessons) in which she points out that the figure in the picture appears melodramatic or 'hysterical' as she puts it. And many people do interpret this card as representing someone who is playing the victim. They say it can stand for someone who wallows in their pain and doesn't want to move on or as I prefer to think of it, someone who is not in touch with their personal power and believes that they have no choice but to remain in the situation that they are in, which I think is a much kinder way of putting it.
In this situation, ones task would be to examine ones attitude and try to come up with positive, creative, proactive solutions to their problems. This interpretation is basically and sub-level of the defeat card, or perhaps sub-category would be a better way of putting it.
Along the same lines, another key phrase for this card is 'stabbed in the back'. And again this card would prompt one to examine situations that make them feel like they are being stabbed in the back. It may also prompt them to look at the part their attitude or behavior may be playing in the situation.
I wonder if you have noticed that contrary to being fatalistic, the cards are very pro-active in nature. Never do they suggest the situation is set in stone, they always suggest a way in which the situation can be improved or thought of differently. They are sort of like having a 'magical' counselor that you never have to pay.
I have had many people want me to tell their fortunes. To tell them what the future holds for them and I won't do this anymore. It makes me very uncomfortable and it also feels silly to me. I have however had some very strange things happen to me while I have read, so I do not entirely discount the idea that the cards do sometimes take on a life of ones own. I don't even try to understand that anymore. But I do not do fortune telling.
Tarot readers are often disrespected because we are looked upon as....well....fruitcakes! And there are many people who do fortune telling with them. And because of this, many people don't realize that the true purpose of the Tarot cards, at least to me and many others, is that they are a tool for spiritual growth. They use pictorial symbols to represent archetypal human experiences and allows one to think about things using their right brain.
I prefer to look at the Tarot as a tool for self-examination and if reading for others, I am the 'keymaster', I know the meanings of the cards. I am the guide..that's all. Tarot has many lessons, one of them I have just related to you. That ultimately, the answers are inside of us and we can find them if we search and that the Tarot can be a tool.
I'm still having a hard time concentrating and I realize that this post is a little disjointed and has some typos, grammatical errors etc...but it's the best I can do right now, especially since my kids are running around the house screaming like monkeys. I will come back and fluff it up a little more later, but in the meantime, I wanted to post it, warts and all!
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Friday, September 7, 2007
Life is fast-paced and life can be rough. Life can run over you like a steamroller and some of us handle it better than others. I have a bad habit, I take it all out on other people. I release my feelings of fatigue and frustration with how hectic everything is on others. Only in my mind, I'm usually pleasant in face-to-face encounters, or I try to be. But in my mind I am constantly complaining about people when they drive too slow, when they get in my way in the store and are so wrapped up in their thoughts that they don't notice that I am there and I have to shrewishly clear my throat to get them to move. I judge people who yell at their kids, people who are rude or unpleasant. I even criticize other women's fashion and hairstyles.
I don't think of myself as a hypocrite or a coward because I criticize people in my mind but am nice face-to-face. I think of the critical thoughts as myself blowing off steam. I realize that when I am complaining about people in my mind that I am not really seeing them, that I am objectifying them and as long as they don't know my thoughts that there is really 'no bad'. I comfort myself with the fact that I really am a nice person and that these thoughts don't really mean much, they are just static.
But you know, who am I fooling? Of course they mean something. Supposing that it is true that my thoughts don't hurt anyone else, (even though I don't really believe this) my thoughts at the very least, hurt myself. For, I feel ugly when I think these thoughts, I really do. These thoughts separate me from others and this is painful.
These thoughts also exist in a sort of endless loop. For who says that other people aren't aware of my thoughts? They may not be aware of them in a conscious way, but it's possible or even probable that they sense them. For I believe that it is true that our negative thoughts reveal themselves in subtle ways and provoke people to certain negative responses, again in a subtle way, and that these responses then justify our thoughts to ourselves.
I know that there is a definite difference in the way that I am treated by others depending upon whether I am in a good mood or a bad mood. I understand that a lot of it may be perception, that I am always encountering people who have a positive response towards me but just don't notice it when I am in a funk. But I don't think that that is the extent of the explanation. I again believe that people are responding to subtle cues that I am sending out, this time positive ones and it is because of this that people are responding to me in a positive way.
Have you ever seen anyone who has such a positive, loving vibe that people just seem to melt around them? It is very rare, but it truly happens. Once I was with a boyfriend and at the time, he was all strung out on life. We were waiting at a dry cleaners and there was a car blocking the window. The person driving the car had gone inside and left their car parked in front of the window. My friend was quite miffed and was involved in some very expert cussing when the door opened and a priest walked out and he smiled, no not smiled...he beamed at us. It was such a sunny smile that I have remembered it for all of these years. No-one could withstand such a smile, my friend included. Truly, what power lies in a smile! I know that this is sort of hallmark-yish, but it's true. As it's also true that people respond our moods more than we or even they probably realize.
What has prompted these thoughts? I was out the other day and it was like I had some sort of epiphany or some sort of worldly veil was lifted from me and I suddenly saw things as they truly are. I was suddenly unable to objectify people as is my habit and I started seeing them and they all looked so beautiful! And everyone looked that way! No-one escaped. Even people who gave off bad vibes, I felt sad for them because they were unhappy. And I couldn't stop looking at people like this was something that I had been hungry for.
Do you know the story of Helen Keller? It was one of my favorite stories when I was young. Helen Keller was deaf and blind. There was no sign language system in use at the time and people just didn't think that it was possible that she would ever be able to communicate with other people, then someone taught her finger spelling. For a long time, she didn't connect the words spelled with her fingers and the objects that these words were supposed to be representing. But suddenly one day she understood and she went flying around touching everything and asking for it's name. The world was suddenly opened to her.
This is what I felt like, I felt like she she must felt when everything was revealed and she saw how much more there was than she had ever known before. Except I didn't rush around and start touching people. All of a sudden that spiritual blindness left me for a time and I felt connected with everything in a way in which I usually don't and that feeling of being ugly that I carry around without even realizing that it is there suddenly left me and that was when I realized what a burden it was and how tired it makes me.
I've had things that have happened to me and just like anyone else, this is why I developed some of the attitudes I developed. I think that our attitudes sometimes protect us, they are an armor we wear and we are supposed to grow so that one day we do not need this armor anymore.
It's time for me to move on, as I've seen, it certainly would feel much better. Going through the world seeing everything through new eyes would make going through it so much easier.
Saturday, September 1, 2007
I've been in a bad mood lately, got some things going on. As you all know, the age old remedy for a bad mood is supposed to be laughter so I've prescribed myself some. I'd like to share it with you. These are called Tom Swifties. They were originated by Edward Stratemeyer in a series of cartoons in the 1920's.
"I dropped my toothpaste," Tom said crestfallen.
"Who would want to steal modern art," Tom said abstractedly.
"My investments are worth more everyday," Tom said appreciatively.
"I have to keep this fire alight," Tom bellowed.
" ", said Tom blankly.
"You've got the right to remain silent," Tom said arrestingly.
"I've only enough carpet for the hall and landing," said Tom with a blank stare.
"Sure I can climb cliffs," Tom bluffed.
"This wind is awful," Tom blustered.
"Use your own toothbrush," Tom bristled.
"Yes, I have been reading Voltaire," Tom admitted candidly.
"I've been to a film festival in the South of France," Tom said cannily.
"I love the novels of D.H. Lawrence," said the lady chattily.
"Another batch of shells for me," Tom clamored.
"We've taken over the government," the general cooed.
"I'd like to be a chinese laborer," said Tom coolly.
"Those cobs are amazing," said Tom cornily.
"Give me some pre-packed cheese slices," said Tom craftily.
"I'm dying," Tom croaked.
"A greek woodland deity is no more," Tom said with a deadpan expression.
"I can no longer hear anything," said Tom deftly.
"Have I been emasculated?" Tom demanded.
Don't let me drown in Egypt," said Tom in deep denial.
"I want the statue to look like the Venus de Milo," said Tom disarmingly.
"That sure took the winds out of my sails," said Tom disgustedly.
"I can't find my reefer," said Tom disjointedly.
"I'll never give up my hounds," said Tom doggedly.
"I'm now on welfare," said Tom dolefully.
"It's made the grass wet," said Tom after due consideration.
"Let's get married," said Tom engagedly.
"Get the stick, Rover," said Tom fetchingly.
"I have a split personality," said Tom, being Frank.
"We have no bananas," said Tom fruitlessly.
"This food tastes of plutonium," Tom said glowingly.
"For what we are about to recieve, make us truly gratefully," Tom said gracefully.
"Would anyone like some parmesan," Tom said gratingly.
"I only have diamonds, clubs and spades," Tom said heartlessly.
"It's my maid's night off," Tom said helplessly.
"The doctors had to remove a bone from my arm," Tom said humorlessly.
"That's an ugly hippototamus," Tom said hypocritically.
"I brush my teeth 10 times a day," said Tom implacably.
"His honor is crazy," Tom admitted judgementally.
"I'd like chicken soup with matzo balls and gefilte soup," Tom said judiciously.
"My parents are called Billy and Nanny," Tom kidded.
"I refuse to make an agenda," Tom said listlessly.
"It's only average," Tom said meanly.
"According to this sonograph, the average frequency of my voice is 160 Hz," said Tom with measured tones.
"A million thanks Monsieur," said Tom mercifully.
"Perhaps I will," said Tom with all of his might.
"Do you call this a musical," said Les miserably.
"My sterios half-fixed," said Tom monotonously.
"The sun is rising," Tom mourned.
"Momma is German," Tom muttered.