AnxietyBipolar ThoughtsDepressionManiaObsessionsPersonal History

I think people might get confused a bit when I say things like “I’m symptom free” or use the word “remission”.

The truth is those things don’t exist. I am never totally ok.

I haven’t experienced the crushing extremes of bipolar in about 10 months. But just a couple days ago I was reminded that exactly a year ago right now I was in a crippling depression and was avoiding people and drinking heavily. And, truth be told, I avoided people and felt depressed at times during this summer as well.

I still have the mood swings, even the extreme ones. I still experience anxiety, insomnia, irritability. I still find my mind racing, or find it difficult to get out of bed.

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BlogInspiration

My whole life I have been a huge fan of both science and science fiction.

My favorite movies when I was a kid were things like Jurassic Park, Apollo 13, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Back to the Future, Alien and Terminator. The novels I really gravitated towards as a kid were HG Wells and Jules Verne. I was a huge Dr. Dolittle fan as an even younger child which is an adventure series about a scientist, nothing like those god awful movies.

This is probably even more pronounced today. Almost all of what I read is science fiction, and most of the movies I make a point of watching are sci-fi as well. My favorite author is Arthur C Clarke, followed by PKD, followed by Vonnegut. The best movies from 2015? Ex Machina, The Martian, Star Wars VII. Best movie I saw in 2016? Arrival!

You’ll never convince me that Childhood’s End isn’t the greatest book ever written, unless of course you bring up Ender’s Game. What movie am I most excited about coming up? Beyond Star Wars, I would have to say Ready Player One, one of the best novels I have read in years, one I consumed in about four days.

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Bipolar ThoughtsObsessionsSuicide

I had a strange, but not at all uncommon experience driving my car this afternoon.

I was stopped at the train-tracks today. I was second in line, and therefore saw the gates coming down. The car in front of me decided he didn’t want to wait and drove around the downed gates before the train came. And so I pulled up very close to the gate myself.

And as soon as I saw his car go I couldn’t stop thinking about his car being crushed, and then I couldn’t stop about my own being crushed.

I assume that isn’t uncommon. I think this is a common fantasy people have; same as the desire to jump from a high open location.

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BlogParenting

I think you pretty quickly find out what type of parent you are going to be. While you don’t really need to discipline a kid for a couple years, and that is a large portion of what type of parent you are, you can look at your interactions and figure out who you are pretty early.

It turns out that I’m the type of parent that likes to push my kids.

When Jocelyn was born I had read a lot about how holding your child in different positions, and especially laying them on their stomach and making them look around, could really develop their spatial awareness. The science isn’t exact, of course, and a lot of people believe that this is just a head-start and all kids will eventually reach average perception regardless. However, my opinion is simply “why not do it?” I gotta play with this kid anyway, let’s work on stuff too.

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Bipolar ThoughtsDepressionMania

I’ve only really had a couple dozen nights of good sleep since early March.

A lot of that has been simply the cessation of my sleeping pill. Insomnia always was, and probably always will be a problem for me. I tend to have a reputation for knowing a lot of trivia, and whenever someone asks me how I know something, I always respond with ‘insomnia’. And it is true! I have spent countless hours going down countless rabbit holes while the sun was asleep.

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Bipolar ThoughtsDepression

I have these small, thin but long, slightly raised white lines on the left side of my chest and torso. There are seven of them. They are barely visible, especially in the winter (then tend to pop more if I have even the slightest tan). I doubt any of you have ever noticed them if you ever happened to see me without a shirt, a situation I am rarely in.

I only ever notice them, or think about them, when I am in the shower. They are very noticeable to the touch. They are quite raised for their diminutive size. It is possible something about the water or soap makes them more perceptible to touch as well.

I got these scars in June, 2013.

I had been off of work since the last week in February. I had been out of the hospital day program I was enrolled in for over a month. I had been alone all day everyday, drinking, abusing pills, struggling to grapple with the whirlwind few months that included a complete break, a serious suicide attempt, hospitalization, and the heavy burden now being placed on my brand new wife.

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Bipolar ThoughtsSuicide

54,589

That was the most motor vehicular related deaths ever recorded in a single year in the USA, in 1972.

The federal government proclaimed motor vehicular deaths as a public health issue and has since thrown billions of dollars at the problem. And it worked! Not only have those deaths sharply decreased to 32,675 in 2014, they have done so despite the fact that we now drive many more miles with more cars on the road. There has been nearly a 215% increase in the amount of miles driven since 1972, but the mortality rate has dropped over 40%.

That is a truly amazing thing and many people consider it the greatest achievement of the public health works of the 20th century.

That’s difficult to quantify, so I won’t try, however it is still amazing.

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Bipolar ThoughtsObsessionsUncategorized

I don’t know why this didn’t publish on my Facebook on Wednesday, so I am reposting this again today:

 

Have you ever experienced a moment so intense or unexpected that it feels as if you can feel the vibrations of fear and anxiety?

I don’t mean physically, per se, although that might also be true. What I am referring to is like how it feels when you look at this image:

Two things are immediately juxtaposed that your brain cannot rationalize.

I imagine that is how a lot of people felt right after the election, how they still feel about it, how I felt as well. Like my lifelong experience told me something was completely impossible, and then it happened. Maybe like watching a magic trick that is so realistic it actually frightens you instead of dazzles you. An experience that is too real to be fake but not possibly true.

Except it is true. That is what makes it so difficult to swallow, what intensifies those vibrations.

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Bipolar ThoughtsObsessions

Have you ever experienced a moment so intense or unexpected that it feels as if you can feel the vibrations of fear and anxiety?

I don’t mean physically, per se, although that might also be true. What I am referring to is like how it feels when you look at this image:

Two things are immediately juxtaposed that your brain cannot rationalize.

I imagine that is how a lot of people felt right after the election, how they still feel about it, how I felt as well. Like my lifelong experience told me something was completely impossible, and then it happened. Maybe like watching a magic trick that is so realistic it actually frightens you instead of dazzles you. An experience that is too real to be fake but not possibly true.

Except it is true. That is what makes it so difficult to swallow, what intensifies those vibrations.

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Blog

October 20th. That was the date of my last entry to this blog. Shockingly, this page has actually increased in foot traffic since then, I’m not sure how.

Why haven’t I posted? Well the answer is pretty simple:

  1. I haven’t been writing as much. Life with two kids and a busier work schedule has shrunken my time. Also a couple other things have taken up a good deal of my time I will talk about in a minute.
  2. The things I have written either were not any good, or things you guys don’t typically read much anyway (science and medicine heavy), or extremely dark and I didn’t really want to sparsely put out really dark things. It might give the wrong impression of how I have been feeling.
  3. I’ve been feeling really great! Even my sleep has been pretty normal for the last few weeks, even though sleep is a continual issue for me. I’ve had a handful of rotten stuff happen, hence the dark essays, but I felt great throughout the holidays despite those things.
  4. The election. I don’t really want to get into politics here. But somehow it became and unavoidable thing that all of my essays for the last several months devolved into. I hated it, so I chose not to publish it.
  5. The election. It has consumed most of my brain space. For the last few years, most of my brain space was devoted to mental health stuff. I spent all of my free time reading about mental health stuff and now that time is dedicated to politics. I’m sure there is a good essay in there about my obsessive nature when it comes to diving head long into a topic for months, or years, on end. Maybe I’ll get into that later.
  6. The election. I can only handle putting so much of myself out there for public consumption. And since I have been putting a lot of my political opinions out there, I felt less inclined to put this side of myself on display as well.

So here is the rundown:

The holidays were actually pretty bad for me. It was an odd flip. Normally the holidays are great and I feel terrible, but this year they were terrible and I felt great. Who knows. The issues I did encounter during the holidays almost exclusively centered on family, so don’t expect any big write ups about that.

I have maintained a level or even up mood sustained since March. I am fully off of medication, only occasionally taking some klonopin when anxious, especially when I cannot sleep.

I recently traded some old guitar gear for a new (to me) amp. It is a fun amp to play on and I have retooled my pedal board and I have played on it at least half hour everyday for a couple weeks now. It has been a great source of stress relief.

So, that’s that I guess. I just renewed this website for another year. The middle of February will mark my third year of this endeavor, and I still consider it to be one of the best things I have ever done with my time. Over the holidays a handful of people contacted me with depression and anxiety problems. I have noticed a lot more people willing to discuss there struggles on social media. And I feel like the blogging community is really working to scale down some of the stigma. I’m proud to be even an insignificant part of that.

So I am hoping that this means I am back in the saddle with some stuff I have been working on. Expect the first blog to publish on Wednesday.

Thanks for still being here and I look forward to sharing more with you again.

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