This is a small opportunity to understand me a little better. Lately I keep things close to my chest and post just my art work. I post it prolifically and produce it prolifically. Let me explain why. Art has become a part of my therapy, a way to express myself and my emotions, and a way to feel productive. Since I stopped working I have felt so unproductive to the point where my self esteem has crashed and burned. My self worth was so very much based on my job. My illness has also given me a lot of time alone at home. Because I cannot work, and I know some of you don’t understand that, and I cannot drive due to the medications side effects and due to increasing hallucinations which we are working on, I don’t get out of the house except to go to therapy or to the doctors. I also cannot sleep for more than a few hours at night so I am left alone in those wee hours with my thoughts because of my mania. So it’s a good time to be creative and let out that energy without destroying the house. So I am channeling my energy into artwork and sharing it within a small community that I can keep track of easily on the computer. And that my husband can help me organize and send and sit with me when I need to work on something but don’t want to be alone. I know that many of you have taken my newly found love of art and my prolific posting as a sign of total rehabilitation. But it is just the opposite. I am fighting a battle with my biochemical makeup that I am not winning right now. So I need to keep occupied with things that don’t need a huge amount of concentration or memory. But things that can make me happy. Things that don’t cause stress. Stress causes major havoc in my life. Change causes stress. Lately anything causes stress. I get into these spirals of thought that I can’t get out of. Being Bipolar is a bitch. It’s not fun. It’s not easy. It’s not a way to for me to “get out of work.” If I could work right now I would. Believe me I would. Being on such a limited income is a HUGE stressor. For my entire family. I am so happy for my friends and former colleagues and former high school classmates and University classmates when I see how much they have accomplished and what they are doing with their lives and all of the adventures they are going on but at the same time I am so jealous because it’s not me. I keep looking at online schools thinking maybe I could do that and the pressure wouldn’t be so bad, and that I could work on a new degree that way, but then I realize that I can’t manage the little stuff right now so it’s not in the cards right now. And it sucks. It really does. But that doesn’t mean it will always be like this. It hasn’t always been like this and it won’t always be like this. It has to get better. It will get better. I know it will. And until then, those of you who are in my life, I love you for it. And those of you who just hang out and watch what I am doing, I love that too. Keep believing that I will get better. But be patient. Keep being patient. I know I’ve said that for years now and people must start to get tired of it. But it’s all I can ask.
Okay so it’s been three months of hiding. I dug in and I dug in hard. I’m trying to dig out and it’s hard. It’s dirty. it’s painful. The sunlight is blinding. It’s a scary world out here. But I am done hiding and trying to re-emerge into the world again. I am taking baby steps that feel like huge steps. I am trying not to just hide in my upstairs room and to actually get outside. I am going to the farmers market. I am going out shopping. I am seeing family. I took my son to his spring concert which he totally rocked at I am proud to say. Since I last saw you, I have become a pesco vegetarian which is a good step in the right direction both for the world and for my body. Less on the pesco more on the vegetarian. I even joined a local CSA this year so I have a good supply of fresh sustainable veggies. I am trying to express myself through art. I switched therapists. Not sure whether that was a good idea or not but I am still in touch with Dr. John so it’s okay. I am trying to normalize my lack of being normal and being down with that. Okay so there have been some major hitches like hallucinations and med issues and I am trying new meds yet again this week but for the first time in six months I actually got my psychiatrist to look at me instead of his computer. So that’s progress. I would tell you the story but you would have to really know me and my sense of humour to not be alarmed at my level of illness/wellness and my blasé attitude about it. I am just able to laugh about my issues or else I would continue to dig myself in further and never come out. And who can live like that? So that’s me. I am going to start updating my blog tonight with some of my attempts at artwork as well as some updates on some of my larger projects etc. It’s going to seem like it’s all over the place but right now that’s where I am so hang on for the ride and enjoy it or just hit the delete key and it’s all good.
Well the first day of 2013 was very promising. I ate healthy, got some exercise, did a little bit of cleaning, did something creative, and even sent a facebook message to a friend and talked to another one on the phone. So those are all good starts in the different areas I wanted to work on. A kick ass start. Yes it’s day 1, but I wanted to start right. I think one of my goals for the year is to learn to listen to my body and do what it tells me to. Like for example, when I was tired this afternoon, instead of fighting it and not getting all of my goals accomplished I lay daown, took a nap, and got up and finished wahat I wanted to do. I drank when I was thirsty. I didn’t eat when I wasn’t hungry. When I eat, I eat to satisfy my mind and don’t listen to my body and end up being sick much of the time. It’s quite shameful. This year I am goign to learn to listen to my body more and eat only until I am satisfied and eat when I am hungry, not bored or sad, or angry. So That’s a big goal for me this year, to listen to my body. Right now my body is telling me it’s tired so I am going to sign off and get some sleep. Happy New Year my friends.
There’s a PANDA in that YARD!!!!!! yes those are the words that came flying out of my stress addled, highly medicated, manicly induced mind and mouth today on the way home from a particularly stressful doctors aappointment. The car skidded to a stop………. before Peter logically realized, then told me so, that we were in the woods of Pennsylvania, and there are no Pandas in Pennsylvania. Close my eyes, count to ten, and look again. Two dogs, one black and one white, playing ball in the yard. Okay so I got the colors right. But not scarlett, there are no Pandas in Pennsylvania. I need to lay off the stress and get some sleep. I guess it’s better than the purple camels or the black cats that used to plague me at points in my life, or even the member of the Insane Clown Posse who i swore was peeping in my window one day. Oh, the joys of being bipolar.
I have Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety disorder, and PTSD. But I am NOT my illness. I am a woman with a mental illness who uses prescribed medication as prescribed to manage her symptoms. I am not a drug addicted, drug seeking, head case, crazy woman, seeking head meds. My medication does cause my memory to be slow. That does not mean that i cannot remember a conversation thatt I had with you two days ago. It also means that if you are a health care provider and I had a conversation with you on the phone or in person, I am damned sure that i documented it because I know my memory sometimes takes a bit to kick in. That does not mean I am stupid. That does not mean I need to be patronized. That does not mean you can lie about a phone conversation you had with me on the phone because you think I won’t remember the details of it and then pass me off as crazy to your supervisor when you screwed up. Don’t forget that before I was disabled, I was a RN, an ER RN to be precise and a damned good one. I did not quit because I made med errors. I did not quit because I had lapses in judgement. I did not quit because my skills were not up to par. I quit because the high stress and my mental illness did not mix. So when you prescribe something to me and I think a dosage is excessive, a medication will interact, or a drug has too high a risk of side effects don’t think for a second that I won’t look it up in my current PDR, consult with my highly trained Pharmacist and call you out. And when I tell you a drug will interact, don’t treat me like a moron then get surprised when the pharmacist calls and reports the same issue. And if you start me on a drug that is 6 times the normal starting dose because you “think I can handle it” don’t think I will not be pissed when I come back complaining of a hangover and vomiting and titrate the dose myself when even the pharmacist can’t get you to change your mind. And when I ask you to give me a 1mg increase of a dose of medication that works, that I was on and you took it away when I entered your practice with no rationale, and instead of returning that 1 mg increase of a controlled substance, you put me on five more drugs and treat me like a drug addict when they don’t work when the 1mg of medication worked well before you took it away and I destabilized, you are the problem not me. I deserve to be listened to and not judged. I deserve to be given answers more than “because I am the doctor and you are the patient.” I deserve to know why my previous psychiatrist put me on medications that followed up to date clinical research and you cannot even identify then so you just keep prescribing them as they are without even looking them up or doing research and after a year still ask me what they are. I deserve not to go to the ER for a true illness like I am experiencing now and will have to go for surgical intervention for and without being even properly evaluated, hearing the nurse outside my room say to another nurse, oh she’s just looking for pain meds and will be in and out fast when in reality I had Acute Diverticulitis and a ruptured ovarian cyst. I am not my illness. I am a human being. I have never misused, abused, or used a drug other than as proscribed except when it was a dangerous dose that was prescribed until I could get it fixed. I abhor narcotics. I don’t even smoke or drink. For my psychiatrist who has treated me now for over a year to call in prescriptions because I am too physically ill to make it too the office and tell me sure they can do that I just need to make a follow up appt which I did for the following week. So they called the prescriptions in. 10 days supply. I expected a 1 months supply and just follow up with the doctor. Well the ten days supply cost me 200 dollars, the same as the 30 day supply, because they are concerned about me abusing medications. I now have to see them and get the remainders supply of the month and pay another 200 dollars for the rest of the months prescriptions. Double my monthly medication cost. The week before christmas. Because I am treated inhumanely and with no respect. And then they have the nerve to lie about the phone call and tell me that they told me that they were only refilling ten days and that I did not tell them I could not see them for medical reasons. Flat out lies. My child now has half of a Christmas because my psychiatrists office is playing God with my life. I am human. I am not a drug seeker or abuser. I am not my illness. I am a young disabled woman with limited means and an even more limited sense of hope right now that the medical establishment that I rely on so much keeps continually treating me and so many others with such little empathy and respect. So if you are a doctor or a nurse or even a tech or a receptionist, remember to treat us like people. We deserve that much. A little empathy would be nice. Some common courtesy would be great. Just listen! Hear what we are telling you! especially if we are talking or crying asking for help and not screaming or yelling or ranting and raving. Maybe just maybe we have something important to say about our own bodies and minds.