Bipolar ThoughtsDepression

“Maybe the life I think I’m living is a paranoid delusion…Sanity is a valuable possession; I hoard it the way people once hoarded money. I save it, so I will have enough, when the time comes.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

I first read The Handmaid’s Tale in high school. It was one of the very slew of dystopian near future books I digested, along with 1984, A Clockwork Orange, Brave New World, and Fahrenheit 451. I have only read a few dystopian novels since high school that impacted me that same way these five did. For the record, those books are: Gulliver’s Travels, Children of Men, The Road, and A Scanner Darkly. Every dystopian story gets compared to these giants in my mind.

I read it again recently, because I want to experience it again before I begin watching the HULU series. And upon this second reading, I am finding a lot of quotes that really describe my experiences with mental health rather well. There is a passage about why we say night falls even though if you look east, it clearly rises just like the morning. This is about perspective. If we focus on the sun, we define our days on the sun. If we focus on something else, we see things in a different way. I wrote a blog about this passage as well, but it isn’t nearly as interesting to me as the one that opens this essay, or at least, this one is less expected.

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I try to be a fixer. Or, maybe I don’t try so much as I can’t get out of my own way sometimes.

I don’t think I’m particularly good at fixing things, by the way. It isn’t really a strength of mine. But that is where I often find myself.

That’s at least part of why this website exists right?

I am not the type of person that you should call if you just want someone to listen and commiserate with you. I know that often (usually?) that is the best thing to do for someone, just listen. But that isn’t how I’m wired.

When a problem is in front of me, my brain just zeroes in on any possible solution.

AnxietyBipolar Thoughts

Anxiety has an amazing ability to humble you.

No matter how big and tough and strong you think you are, anxiety can reduce you to a balled up, crying, shaking wreck. All you want is to be held like a baby, tears stream down your face, and you have no control over yourself.

I often have this odd sensation on my skin when my anxiety is high. It is hyper-sensitive to the touch. Even blankets or clothes can irritate to the point of pain. All you want is to be hidden in a pile of blankets four feet high, but it feels like a sunburn all over your body.

AnxietyBipolar ThoughtsDepression

I apologize for not being around for awhile. Things have been very busy for me, kids, work, spring things around the house, a big wedding, graduations and birthdays and everything has been crazy.

But another reason is that I have been dealing a lot with some depression and a lot of anxiety. I have missed a good number of days of work. I have felt particularly awful, barely sleeping, eating much less, much more stressed out, and very little ability to relive stress.

As a result, a little over a month ago, for the first time in several months, I took sleeping medication to try to get some sleep.

Bipolar ThoughtsTherapy

Week three of thankfulness:

I didn’t post one of these last week, and the reason is simple: it was my birthday last Saturday. I turned 32.

Birthdays are never a good time for me. Some of you are aware that two years ago, on my 30th birthday, was my most recent attempt to commit suicide. It came after a couple years of struggling with many episodes, a few other attempts, and a hospitalization. It resulted in another hospitalization and ECT.

Today, I am thankful that I turned 32.

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Bipolar ThoughtsSuicide

When you commit to a plan of suicide…

…and I mean fully commit. I mean not just the method and means or timing, but also the details of how people might find you, how you can control the dissemination of that information, if you can give a final word or meaningful act. When you begin to crystalize the plans down to what will happen not just in sequence but also minute by minute. When you begin to contemplate how your death will impact people. When you decide to destroy worlds, dramatically shift lives, and alter timelines. When you pour over how everything about your very personal life might become public, including the hundreds of god awful blogs you have written that are sitting in a file named “never use”.

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Week #3 of thankfulness blogs

This week, the purity of sound

A few summers ago I was camping with my family and one entire day was rained out. I had an infant that wasn’t entirely happy, and I was just beginning the recovery process after ECT.

Anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks just after lunch and I went to my tent to lie down and get away. And there is where I discovered something that has been an effective part of treating my anxiety ever since, the sound of a hard rain on that nylon/ polyester blended surface.

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Bipolar ThoughtsPersonal HistoryTherapy

There is a really fascinating phenomenon with the brain where once you understand how to solve a problem, the solution is inherently visible to you when faced with the same problem again.

This is applicable in a myriad of things. This is how we go from seeing the silhouetted faces to the wine glass or the bird and the old lady back and forth once we are aware of the optical illusion, despite only being able to see one or the other upon the first viewing. This is how we can “learn” to increase our IQ or our SAT scores by repeated test taking. This is how we become more adept at puzzles and games, and why you’re no longer play Sudoku.

There is an evil twin sibling of this phenomenon called confirmation bias. And this means that when we believe we are solving a problem we have already learned to solve, we will find clues that helped us solve previous puzzles that might no longer be applicable. This is why you never finished the “expert” level Sudoku book.

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