Rapid Cycling Tempered With Suicidal Ideation and Clarity (TW)

TRIGGER WARNING — mentions of suicidal ideation and self-harm thoughts

not giving up

I have been pondering doing ECT again for the past several days.  According to my mood tracker app, I have had six days in a row now where I have struggled desperately with suicidal and self-harm thoughts.  Had I been using the app for even longer, it would have shown some seriously ridiculous rapid cycling.  The up, the down, it never ends.  This last stretch has been particularly difficult.

I have opted not to go to the hospital or the crisis house, mostly because it is too hard to be away from my natural support system.  With the near-constant help from LarBear, and lots of support from Mom and Dad, and the support of friends, I have managed to stay safe.  There have been many times where I was *almost* not safe, and there was some self-harm behavior that I DID engage in, but I am still standing, still in once piece.  Upright, as I told a friend yesterday.

golden gate

And that’s the truth — there isn’t anything in my life that isn’t *fixable*.  Unfortunately, it isn’t a “magic wand” kind of fix or a pill I can take or a therapy I can do.  It is all, I believe, a mixture of many things that keep me alive and keep me from making that final step into the abyss.  I hover over the line, testing my toes across the edge, but I consistently pull back.

Because LarBear.

Because Kizzie.

Because my mom and my dad and my sister.

Because Oscar.

Whatever the “because” is, it doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that I still have a “because,” and even several of them.  Even at my very worst, I can almost always keep in mind that I don’t want to leave these precious people behind.  It is a blessing that I can think this way, and it is only when I am unable to see their importance in my life that I will put myself into a hospital or a crisis house.

Oscar’s birthday was the 19th, and I meant to do a birthday post for him, but mentally wasn’t up to it.  I am going to try and crank one out in the next day or so anyway — he is two years old now, so I am pretty sure he won’t judge me too harshly for not being on time.

Yes, because Oscar.

Yes, because my sister.

Thank you, baby Jesus, that I have my family, that I have my LarBear, that I have my friends.  Without them, things would be very grim indeed.

And KINDNESS.  No, kindness is not overrated.  It is simple, while being complex, and is really so VERY easy, even though sometimes it’s hard.  So, because kindness.  You never know what someone is going through, right at this moment.  Be kind.  Smile at someone.  You could save a life, without knowing it.  I know I have seen some smiles in my life that have kept me from wrapping my car around a bridge abutment, from stepping out a window, from picking up that instrument of self-harm.  It really can do it.  Please smile at someone today.

lightens the burdens




Crispity, Crunchety, French-Fried Edges

I had been doing so well on blogging regularly, but the last week or so has really taken a toll.  I have been completely without two very important medications for four days one week, and then totally without any sleeping or nightmare medication for three days the following week.  Add that to a very busy schedule, and I find myself feeling a bit worse for wear as days go by.

Of course, I’m gonna come through it, and things are already looking up, but I am fried around the edges.  Social contact has become difficult — heck, I don’t even want to be around LarBear half of the time.  I just want my music and my sunlamp and for everyone to leave me the Hell alone.  I haven’t been doing much Facebook, haven’t been returning messages or emails.

This time of year is classically difficult for me.  I haven’t had a “good” winter in over fifteen years, and for the last few years have ended up in the hospital or the crisis residence shortly after the holidays.  Heck, this Spring, I even had to do ECT.  I still grasp at straws as to things that make me feel better, but sometimes it is grasping into thin air.

I have jewelry pieces I have been wanting to make for Christmas, and I have all of the supplies — I am severely lacking in the follow-through department, however.  They aren’t hard pieces, but I just look at the supplies, then out the window at the grey nastiness, then back in at the supplies, and ughhhhhh.  I cannot get any motivation going, and as Christmas approaches, the stress of not having these things done or even being worked on grows greater.

So, I’ve been doing a lot of flailing, sitting still, kicking and screaming against doing anything the last week.  I have been trying my very hardest to stay positive, to stay in wise mind, but I find myself full of negative feelings and emotion.  As much as I can, I am turning my mind away from those thoughts and feelings, but gosh durn, it’s hard sometimes!

Thanks to DBT (and almost 20 years of dealing with bipolar disorder), I have discovered a few things that work to bring me back to Earth.  I have been relying heavily on music, breathing exercises, building structure, building mastery, and routines.  Yes, I must have my routines — they may seem to be silly and frivolous to other people, but my routines are sometimes the only things that keep me going.

In addition to the medication issues over the last two weeks, I have been dealing with a LarBear who is struggling to deal with the realities of his (negative) family situation while embracing a “new” family that has traditions and celebrations out-the-wazoo.  It is overwhelming for him, and he has said as much, and has certainly acted as such.  I don’t know much to do except to just ease him through the season, but it definitely adds to the stress level.

Through the course of blogging today, I am feeling a weight lift off my shoulders, and realizing that this dang thing is more therapeutic to keep up than I had realized it still had the power to be.  If you are my dear friend, and I have mentioned a piece of jewelry for you for Christmas, know that it may be more of a New Year’s gift, and remember that I am human, and it might even turn out to be a “Happy February” gift.  Doing the best I can here, and there’s always manana, manana!

O.K., Wild One!

Okay, so maybe “wild” isn’t the right word.  Hypomania?  Mania, even?  What started out as just some “really great” feelings has evolved into something more.  I’m not sleeping but three or four hours a night, and those hours aren’t all at one time.  Nightmares have come on with an even greater vengeance.  I find my thoughts to be confused and jumbled and quite speedy, my speech is pressured, and one day seems to capture ten different mood shifts.

No bueno, my friends.  I did go to see the amazing psychiatrist last week and he increased my Lithium and added Seroquel as a PRN show-stopper of sorts, but I have had little relief.  Especially in the sleep department.  My tolerance for other humans has begun to shrink, and even my feelings of empathy for the puppies in my life who struggle with fireworks and thunder and every other loud noise have been diminished.

I miss blogging every day, but most days I find that I just don’t have much to say.  Or much to say that I think bears repeating from my tired old brain.  Sometimes I think I should just throw it out there anyway, but I don’t.  I admire bloggers who do it day-in-and-out, and maybe I’ll get back there some day.  I think I would have a hard time throwing RosieSmrtiePants away altogether, and don’t think that day is coming anytime soon.  Maybe I could embrace a weekly blogging schedule.  You know, a SCHEDULE.  Gah!

So many things in life are better these days, so it is really aggravating to me that I must still be on the bipolar circus ride of up-down-all-around.  I have resigned myself to think that perhaps it will ALWAYS be that way.  I mean, if the past 33 years is any indication anyway.  I comfort myself by reminding Rosa that at least the current state of affairs does not 100% revolve around depression and anxiety.  Yay for mania (except, ick, really) for keeping things interesting and here’s to a goal of no hysterical crying for 24 hours.

We all have goals, am I right?  ;). Sure do love y’all!

Treading Water, Full Speed Ahead


Stuck in time-space travel, living too far into the future, no focus, hyper-focused, zero attention span.  Do not care.  About that (although a little troublesome) or about much.  I’ve let most things I love and care about drop around my feet slowly, starting in August of last year, when my world was given the big smack-down and everything changed.

I’ve cycled through some hypomania and have as of late been mired in depression and super-fun mixed episodes, with a bit of giddy mania sandwiched in.  I have dropped blogging, family, friends, personal hygiene, my TV shows, my music, my books, my sanity, and the smoking and weight loss kick to find myself with a new boyfriend and far too much change and far too much crying, several times a day, every day.  Something is not right.

I feel as if I am living in a different world.  I don’t do the things that ground me.  I am trying new things and they sometimes make me quite miserable.  Cutting off ties to certain people leaves my belly churning and my chest tight.  On the flip of that, I am deliriously happy, ecstatic even at times.  And in the middle, irritable, wounded, striking out.  I am all and I am none.

I am eating Hamburger Helper and Ramen noodles and instant mashed potatoes, even though I can cook, and do cook well.  My body is so parched for moisture from a lack of self-care, that my feet are cracked, my skin rough, my hair thinning.  I do not recognize myself in a mirror.  I have important phone calls to make to set up appointments for my health and should try and see family more, but all I really want to do is stay up all night being whacked or lying in bed all day, broken.

I want to retain the good parts of my life and explore the new, rid myself of the negative or unhelpful, but I can’t make myself care enough to do anything about it.  I probably look fine, even good on the outside, like I am doing well.  But in mind and heart I have gone away.

I sometimes think about throwing myself on the mercy of the psychiatric hospital, or the local crisis services, but I don’t, because that only burdens everyone.  I stay safe because I keep boyfriend Larry at my side as much as I can.  There is only so much one can do, though, and he will get tired.  As with any other relationship, I am probably wrecking this one already with my craziness.

No real worries, friends.  I will keep on keeping myself safe.  These are only thoughts and feelings.  Reality is that there is love in my life and I would never do anything to hurt or abandon anyone in that fashion.





Sometimes You Have to Burn Bridges

burning bridges



Younger, naive, much less in tune with the ways relationships work (and don’t work).  To put it simply, I was just young and dumb and hopelessly romantic.  I thought I was in love, maybe I was.  It sure seemed that way, when we weren’t fighting over something silly and he wasn’t ignoring me or giving me the silent treatment.

We were very different.  At that young of an age, I had a restlessness to do things.  Anything, really.  I wanted to have have dinner and an evening of conversation at my mom’s house, go catch a movie once in awhile.  I wanted to have my pregnant step-sister over and make her brownies and see how excited she got when the pan came out of the oven.  I wanted to go to ballgames with my dad and not see his disappointment everytime I left the house.

And he didn’t want to be around people.  Not anyone.  Not his family, not my family.  Sometimes, I think, not even me.  I did everything I could to catch his attention — cooked great meals, suggested movies to watch, brought home card games I thought he might like.  To no avail.  The harder I tried, the more he ignored me.

I see now that it was terribly painful for him to be around other people.  When he said, “Rose, I don’t know what to say!” — he really meant that he didn’t know what to say.  I thought he was just shy at first.  And that was okay because I’m a little on the shy side myself when I first get to meet someone.  But it was more than that.  There was a complete confusion, for him, about how people interacted, talked to each other, empathized and loved one another.  He didn’t understand it, and it couldn’t be taught.  I tried — he would say, “just leave me alone.”

I don’t know how I made it through three years like that.  My biggest problem with him was that he constantly ignored me.  I would get home from work and we would talk for a little bit and, even though he had been home all day by himself, he had to get away again.  He would go to the basement and play video games at full volume, for hours on end.  He would take his tablet or his iPod and go listen to five or six or seven podcasts.

I remember thinking, “I just want him to like me.  To love me, even!”  I remember wondering why he never wanted to be around anyone, no matter how loving and including they were.  It was all very confusing to me, because I felt like I was doing all the right things, like my family and his family were doing all the right things.

When things were close to the end, we were sitting around taking online questionnaires.  I sent him one for Asperger’s Syndrome.  He read off his answers to me, which were all lies.  The truths were all such CLEAR markings, and I can say that I do have some experience with this, having worked in the the mental health field for over ten years.  I began to think, not for the first time, that something clinical could have been playing a role in our dysfunctional (nonfunctional) relationship.  Not that it was or that it had, but that it COULD have.

Right after that, we got into a big fight about the same old things (ignoring me, never wanting anything to do with anyone, playing video games for 12 hours at a time overnight).  He said he was leaving.  I told him that I would hold him to that, and he left the next day.

It’s three years later and imagine my surprise when he friends me on Facebook.  Knowing I shouldn’t, but wanting to know how he is, I accept.  And he starts messaging me.  Over and over.  Won’t stop.  I finally figured out to unfriend him.  He kept messaging me and I didn’t understand how that was possible, so I blocked him.  My phone rang a few minutes later, and it was him, pretending to be a customer service rep.  I told him we were never getting back together, that it would never happen and that I had bad memories from that time.  He said he understood and would leave me alone.

I hope I don’t have to change my number.

Blinding Happiness Followed By Crash With Tears

Today has been a great day.  Today, I met my very first ever nephew.  That’s right; I’m Auntie Rose.  My sister had the baby last night and I went to the hospital in the big city to see her and the newest addition.  The text message pictures she sent me this morning before I got there didn’t do the boy justice.  Of course they didn’t.  He is perfect.  I mean it.  Perfect.

I thought I would cry when I held him, because for weeks I have been tearing up, just thinking about him and what a beautiful life he will have.  When my mom placed him in my arms, I was nervous (that I would drop him or sneeze on him or something else terrible), but calmed easily and just got lost looking at him.  I never did see him open his eyes, and he didn’t make much noise, but I felt such a deep connection.

I hadn’t felt that degree of pure joy in a long, long time.  I’m tearing up just thinking about it now.  I wish the misery around me would go away and I could just sneak back in those hospital doors and see him.  I know that would make me feel better, for awhile.

But every time my mood goes up, it must come CRASHING THE FUCK DOWN!  I’m so sick of it.  I held it together until I got home.  I am an idiot because I asked DSB if he was happy to see me and he flatly replied, “ecstatic.”  To me, that is sarcasm, and it is not appreciated.  To him, he is joking.  But really, that’s just how he communicates.  He doesn’t get excited about anything, and even if he did, he would never admit it.

So, I burst into tears and told him I needed a break.  I sit, here at my desk, in my favorite room in the house, and I am crying.  Just flat-out, sniffling, can’t-stop crying.  Not sure I WANT to stop.  The day has been an intense emotional roller-coaster and I really just need him to be there for me and understand.  I don’t seem to be able to ask him to do that.

And I need to stop crying.  All this crying I am doing, every day for at least two hours for the past month…it has to go.  The last time I cried like this, it lasted for months, and I ended up in a day-hospital program, and then went voluntarily inpatient.  I am not doing that again.  Ever.

I also need to get my feelings and mood swings in check before I ruin the best thing I’ve got going — me and DSB.  I’m at a loss.  I really am.  Blogging has helped somewhat, but I’ve got to ask my biggest supporter for more support and I don’t know how.

The Up Down Game

I started to participate in Cultivate 2014 this year.  I even wrote out the first day’s post.  Unfortunately, all prompts since that post have been so “not me,” that I’ve decided to move on.  Since it was following Reverb, I thought I would really enjoy it, but that was not the case.  Maybe I should have dug a little deeper, tried a little harder to  make it work.  I just don’t have it in me.

The depression fog is there, and then it’s not.  I’m focused, and then I’m lost.  And then I’m back to focused again.  Depression has been the bogeyman this go-round, usually springing up to “get me” when the sun goes down.  For the most part, during the day, I can stay active and get things done.  And feel good about it.  Once sundown occurs, I start to lose focus and perspective, and anything good about that day goes down the drain with it.

I see this as a pattern, yet I don’t know how to stop it.  I see Goddess of Mindfulness on Wednesday and I am hoping to talk about it and maybe gain some insight and some ideas on what I can do to prevent this from happening.  It really is odd, to me, that it comes and goes like that.  Such is life with bipolar, though, right?  Up, down, up, down.  All these years living with it and it still gets to me.

Happy moments have me down, too.  Which, of course, isn’t fair to the other happy people.  These happy moments cause me to reflect poorly upon myself, wishing it were I in the situation, wishing I had done something differently about the situation, that I was more included (all the while knowing that I had ostracized myself).  Feelings of “it’s not fair” and “everyone hates me” floating around in the air.  And everyone around me is all smiles and laughs and oblivious (thankfully, I think) to the extreme emotional pain am in.

Sometimes (and sometimes, a lot of times), I feel like giving up, giving in.  I want to stop trying and I want not to hurt so much.  But then there is a part within me that just wants to get better, that can see myself getting better, that is aware of the accomplishments I have made, the strides in progress.  That part of me doesn’t come out all the time, but when it does, I can momentarily feel better.

And isn’t that all anyone wants, to just feel a little better, even momentarily?


Cultivate 2014: Quite Belated Thoughts on 2013 and the New Year



Isn’t that the most lovely image, to bring to mind ideas and thoughts with shapes everchanging that you will implement in the New Year?  I thought so, too.  #Cultivate2014 is the newest series of prompts I will be participating in, in order to bring meaning and structure and reality to my deepest wishes and desires of 2014.  The prompt for January 13th is as follows:

What did you set out to accomplish last year? What did you do to cultivate your goals and your life? Did your intentions manifest last year?

Bwahahahah!  I didn’t set out to accomplish a darn thing in 2013.  I was goal-less, aim-less.  My constant “have stable mental health” was there, but there was no sense or purpose driving it.  There was no consciousness about it, no meditative thought, no digging inside my brain to see what the problem might be.

Until there was.

I dropped off the blogging grid in August of 2012, just days before my 31st birthday.  2012 was a rotten year and a great year.  I had met the love of my life, I had spent the weekend in a psychiatric hospital, I lost my favorite therapist, I knew true love, I had a new doggy friend.  But life was somewhat intolerable, and I (apparently) couldn’t be bothered to write about it.

By February of 2013, I was back to blogging again, back to putting my thoughts and dreams onto “paper.”  I was back and forth, feeling terrible mentally, feeling  high, feeling unlovable, feeling high high high and low low low.  It really is hard to get all that written down, but I was trying to be semi-mindful at that time and knew I needed to record so that I could go back and repeat what had worked and avoid what hadn’t.

All in all, 2013 was a year of trying to stabilize my mental health, develop my relationship with DSB, and really, not do much else.  Even though it’s not in the best of shape, I am somewhat stable emotionally, mentally, whatever you want to call it, here at the start of 2014.  I’ve been up and down here right directly, but over the past few months I have known a bit of peace.  Living with bipolar disorder and anxiety, there will forever be ups and downs.  Times of tears and times of joy.  Times of wanting to punch someone in the face and then, alternately, wanting to kiss everyone you meet.  And I don’t think I will ever live any other way.  And I am ok with that.

If 2013 taught me anything, it’s that I can apply myself to a problem and fix it and make it better.  I quit smoking in 2013 and am still quit here in January of 2014.  It hasn’t been easy, but it has been done.  I have some big projects to tackle in 2014, and I hope to be more mindful in the way I do things and see things and approach things.  I hope to live a more deliberate life and not wander so much.  I hope to ground myself in that which is real and release negativity from every aspect of my life.  2014 will be a great year…I will wish it so.

A Fat Moment

I have actually had a somewhat okay day today.  I got some housework done, spent some time with DSB, a pretty good dinner is in the oven, and I watched an episode of “Downton Abbey.”  Evening is starting to set in, however, and my good humor is vanishing.  I was reminded of what happened to me a few days ago, that I didn’t ever mention because I was so ashamed.

I was at my mom’s house, and she has a full-length mirror in her entryway.  My sister and I used to stand in front of it and preen for mirrors.  My mom and Big Dawg would joke that we were “wearing the mirror out.”  I have spent the past two years (since right before I quit Weight Watchers the last time) avoiding that mirror.  Not even glancing in it, as I go up their stairs.  Getting the vacuum out of the closet, not a second look.  Nothing.

I don’t know what possessed me to look that day, but I did, and I was confused, at first.  I simply did not recognize the stranger in the mirror.  How I think of myself in my head and I how I looked in the mirror are totally different.  I thought, in my head, that, although I have gained some weight, I have retained some of my cuteness.  Dead wrong.  There is nothing even remotely attractive about me.  Except maybe my hair, which has grown out, but even that left me confused because it was much darker than what I envision it.

Since then, I’ve glanced in mirrors.  Horrified, every time, to see what I have turned into.  And I’m not exaggerating.  I would qualify as super-morbidly obese.  I am disgusting, without a doubt.  I feel this sense of urgency to do something about it, something drastic.  When I took DSB to his appointment on Thursday, there was a flyer for weight loss surgery.  I’ve thought about it a lot in the past but have never gone through with it.  Could I now?

I’ve thought about it a l0t, and the answer is, no, I don’t think I could.  I truly do believe I can lose weight if I apply myself.  It doesn’t help that I’ve gained 10 pounds or so since I quit smoking, but that’s not what has broken the camel’s back.  It is that image of myself in the mirror, the one that I don’t recognize.

I am terrified of the health ramifications of being this overweight.  So far, the only health conditions I have are sleep apnea and hypertension.  At my weight, I should have elevated cholesterol and diabetes, to boot.  How that has not happened by now, I don’t know.  What I do know is that I am going to have to really apply myself and lose some weight.  And stay quit with smoking.

All of this seems like Mission Impossible, given my mood.  But, I’m not ready to die anytime soon, and I’d like to look at least a bit attractive.  DSB still tells me I look good, but now I know better.  Maybe in his eyes I do and I am fortunate to have a significant other that is not close-minded and can still see beauty beneath the surface.  Ok, I am beyond fortunate.  And he d0es love me and thinks I am pretty.  Ok, ok, ok.

Still, something has to change.  The depression has to go, the weight has to go, and the anxiety has to go.  All of it.  I lit a candle for myself tonight, which I don’t usually do (I usually reserve it for someone else), but I am going to need all the good juju I can get.  Something’s gotta give.

Morning Should Do a Meet-Up with Afternoon

As I posted last night, midday, afternoon, and evening are the worst.  I am actually fairly good-to-go in the mornings.  I woke up this particular morning at 10:30am, which is quite late for me, so I’m a bit disappointed that I am going to miss out on my easiest part of the day.  I am so buoyant, however, right now, that I am hopeful that morning will merge into afternoon and I won’t notice.  That is possible, right?

So many thanks for lovely followers (I don’t like the term, how about friends?) sending good juju my way last night.  I had a good night’s sleep and awoke, feeling pretty darn good.  Tinge of mania, perhaps, so it is possible that I am experiencing a mixed episode.  It would explain the overpowering anxiety and irritibility that I have been throwing around.  Not sure, though, but a thought.

Mixed states can really be the most difficult.  Because, it’s like having all the energy in the world, but it’s negative.  So you’re pissed, irritable, annoyed, sad, grumpy, and emotions are swinging to and ‘fro.  I really do think it might be the worst stage of bipolar, especially for those around you.  No one likes you in a mixed state, and it can’t really be blamed on anything but the behavior.

Moving on to sunnier thoughts, I do have my sunlamp on.  Even though it is sunny outside.  I am  hoping it’s super-powers will change me back into the human that I know I can be.  I also have a boatload of  housework to do, so I need the energy it gives me.  Sleeping late really ruined my routine and I’ve yet to see DSB for longer than five minutes today.

DSB’s surgeon told him on Thursday that he could lift up to 40-50 pounds.  What does that mean to him?  It means he should go wrestle with the radiator on  his truck, of course.  And then perhaps do some welding.  Sigh.  I am almost positive that a truck radiator weighs more than 40-50 pounds, and I should note that when he breezed by a little bit ago, he looks worse for wear and said he is not sure it is a good idea that he start “doing things” again.  Sigh again.  This is DSB’s third surgery within a year, and it’s just getting old.  Mostly for him, but for me, too.

I don’t know if that’s really fair to him, to say his injuries and not feeling good and constant pain are a pain in the ass for me as well.  But it’s so true.  He can’t ever do anything, he’s not much help with things that are generally his territory (feeding and watering dogs, taking trash to the road, snow removal, mowing, etc).  I asked him to brown some hamburger because I was going to be late getting home, and he wasn’t able to do that.  So he had cottage cheese and a small salad for dinner, and I just had a small salad.  Talk about being hungry in the morning.  We are meat eaters!

Speaking of meat eaters, DSB is convinced that the reason he is healing so quickly is because he eats a lot of protein and drinks a lot of milk.  We do have meat/protein at every meal, and that is the main course.  I’d like to have soup a few times a week, but he won’t have it.  It’s meat, meat, meat.  I’ve thought about just making soup for myself, but I’m not sure I could make  a small enough amount that it wouldn’t go bad.  That, and he’d eat it if it were around.  Cooking two meals, and then having him eat both.  Don’t think so.

Well this has been full of randomness and my thoughts are racing and all over the place, so I’ll end for now.  Maybe a blog this evening about how the day ended up, with these feelings of zingy-ness this morning.