Tag Archives: bipolar

Ever Have One of Those Days?

What part of "leave me the hell alone" did you not understand?

What part of “leave me the hell alone” did you NOT understand?

Ever have one of those days? Somehow you got up on the wrong side of the bed? My bed is up against the wall so I only have one side to get up on, but I still manage to do it on occasion.  What can I say? I’m still pretty limber even at 57 years of age.

I’m usually OK first thing in the morning when it’s quiet and peaceful and I’m on the patio, listening to the birds sing, drinking coffee, and writing. I’ve been doing a lot more writing lately since I gave myself permission to not publish every single word I commit to paper or computer. It took a lot of the pressure off.

I’m floundering along in the 3rd week of getting diagnosed as bipolar and it’s been pretty hard, but in some ways it’s been a huge relief. I’m not crazy, I’m mentally ill. There’s a huge difference…well there is! Don’t argue with me!

Being as Mr. Husband is in fact my spouse and cares a great deal about me; he’s stuck with also floundering along trying to figure out how to adjust to this situation as well. The trouble starts when our coping mechanisms butt heads.

Stop Asking Me Questions!

Stop Asking Me Questions!

My way of coping with a challenging situation is to withdraw in my shell and spend a great deal of time contemplating my navel and the universe. Hubman’s way of coping is to pin me to a bug board and examine me under a magnifying glass. Then bombard me with eleven thousand questions per hour, analyze, make  spread sheets, flow charts and make plan B, C, D and all the way through to double Z.

All this accomplishes is to make me want to scream loud and often, and take up residence in the attic. Thank you God, I have my own room with a lock on the door (my idea) to retreat too when it all gets too much.

It occurred to me this morning that I can just stop answering the questions. It may seem odd for a blogger to claim they are a private person, but I am.  I choose what to share and what to keep to myself. If someone tries to squeeze information out of me I clam up. Trying to force information out of me at this point is more useless than trying to get blood out of a turnip.

I’ve decided to implement the “Do you feel lucky? Well do ya?” policy. One question a day about my mental or physical status is all I intend to answer. If there is something that needs discussion I will let you know! Think about it Hubman, is this the one question you want to ask me today? It’s a one shot deal.

Limiting questions to one per day may sound rather draconian to a “normal” couple, but when it comes to an illness, a rather benign question takes on a whole new meaning. A question such as “did you sleep OK last night?” is really multiple questions hiding under the guise of a single question. It can mean; Did you sleep at all? Did you have nightmares? Did you get up in the middle of the night and drive to East Texas for a pack of cigarettes? Did you rearrange the furniture? Did you wake up at 3:00 am and knit a scarf so long it could wrap around the equator twice? Did you decide to format the hard drives and reinstall all the programs on all 3 of your computers at the same time? Did you eat everything in the kitchen that wasn’t tied down or raw? Did the tooth fairy leave a half eaten chunk of havarti cheese under your pillow?

My advice to anyone who is coping with mental illness or any other chronic illness in a loved one or friend is to embrace a few simple concepts. We are sick not stupid. We are ill but not an idiot. We did not sign away our right to be treated as an adult and with respect when we signed forms in the doctor’s office. We need a friend and a shoulder to cry on. Not a mother hen, a jail warden or a head master. We are still capable of making rational decisions and we know what we need more than you do, even if we may not able to express it in a way that you believe or understand.

I’ll climb down off my soap box now. Thank you for listening  🙂

Occam’s Razor – And the Unexamined Life

An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living. Socrates

When it comes to taking quotes at face value one must exercise extreme caution. Socrates examined the living daylights out of everything. I think he must have over-examined the lives of his peers as well, because he really pissed them off. He ended up having to end his own life by drinking hemlock.

I have been going through a protracted phase of obsessive self-examination brought on by a recent bipolar diagnosis. I was falling into the trap of questioning my every thought and decision through this new kaleidoscope. It reached a magnificent crescendo of silliness yesterday. I spent several hours yesterday morning in a state of extreme annoyance at … my pajama sleeves.

You may think “Girl, you have waaay much time on your hands.” I personally do not subscribe to the theory of too much time on one’s hands. I learn from everything I do or feel whether or not it is of any value to anyone else. I’m the one that has to live in this brain and this body so I’m going to do it my way, thank you very much!

Anyway, the pajama sleeves were driving me crazy. One sleeve insisted on poking out 4 inches below the sleeve of my robe. The other sleeve remained where it belonged, just peeking out a bit.

I began to descend into frenzy of questions. Why are my sleeves crooked? Am I turning into the hunch back of Notre Dame? Am I suffering from some sort of extended muscle spasm that is causing one shoulder to be higher than the other? Has one of my arms decided to grow longer than the other one? Finally I went to the bathroom, looked me in the face in the mirror, mentally slapped myself and yelled “pull yourself together, Man!”

It worked and I recalled the lovely principle of Occam’s Razor.  It means, in layman’s terms; when faced with multiple hypotheses, the simplest solution tends to be the right one. There is nothing wrong with me, it’s the pajamas. Sure enough I took off the top and compared the sleeves to each other. One sleeve is longer than the other. Well duh!

At this point you may also be thinking “this woman needs to get help, and then a life, in that order.” But I am getting help, and I do have a life! My life may be on the far end of the bell curve called “normal.” I don’t care. I’m living it and learning to cope with these mental gyrations in my own way. If it means I have to address myself in the mirror to talk myself down from whatever mental ledge I crawled out on, that’s OK.

I don’t even have to believe that “tomorrow is another day” and then wait for it. I can start a new day right now. Let it slide, don’t take myself too seriously, laugh it off and get on with living.

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