When We Don’t Really See

Today, a friend I just graduated from UWT with (Brit), posted the following on Facebook –

“I don’t look at people. I mean, I really don’t even see the people around me, and it reflects in my writing. I avoid eye contact most of the time and even though I’m friendly and even chatty with cashiers, or I help strangers at the train station, I avert my eyes to the point that I couldn’t tell you who I spoke with most of time. I can describe the place we were in, but am clueless about the person directly in front of me.”   (posted with permission)

I think that this is one of those things that probably everyone does in one way or another. When I’m manic, which is most of the time, I’m 180 degrees away from Brit. I not only look at them and talk to the people around me, but I also look them over. I feel like the whole person, including their physical appearance, tells me what I can expect when I talk to them. I guess it’s like general appearance profiling… whatever that means.

Brit said that she’s “clueless about the person directly in front of me.” It occurs to me that there is another person, in addition to the person we’re interacting with, that we rarely see. We talk to this person all the time. We talk, and we never see the truth of who they are. We judge them harshly and without mercy. Is it possible that we have learned not to see the person in the mirror anymore?

I don’t know about you, but I definitely look at myself from the inside out. I’m not sure this is the best way to look at myself. It invites me to instant self-criticism. I wonder how others see me? Hmm. I’m going to have to think about that for a bit.

Pressured Speech – Bipolar Symptom

Descriptions of Bipolar Disorder are pretty standard across books and websites. The symptoms seem easy for anyone to understand. Unfortunately, they are not. I will be looking at each of the significant symptoms and will show what they look like on a real person. It is essential to understand them. To give you an example, what does it mean when I say that one of my most persistent symptoms is “pressured speech.” “Pressured speech,” this is not something I’d ever heard before.

I’m not a walking list of the common symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. Since a large part of mania seems to consist of going excessively fast I’m going to start right off with it. Get ready – The following information is critical to understand precisely what Bipolar Disorder is so that you can live life to the fullest. Ignorance of my condition left me without defenses and practically begs for things to go wrong. Now that I understand more about the disorder, I generally deal with it more successfully. Well, some of the time. Other times, it seems to slap me upside the head before I ever see it coming. Despite the seemingly inevitable setback, I feel like I have a fighting chance. For once, I even feel hope.

Mania – Pressured Speech

Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness where a person’s moods swing wildly from severe depression to reckless mania. Pressured speech is one loud symptom of Bipolar Disorder. I’ve repeatedly been told that I do it, but no one ever stopped to explain what it means. I had to research on my own to figure out what “pressured speech” means.

Knowledge – For me, a key to coping with any illness has always been understanding what’s wrong with me and how I can fight it. I hate seeing the same look on people’s faces when I realize that I’m my speech seems pressured. It freaks them out. It freaks me out too. It makes me realize that I’m talking crazy talk again and again and again.

“Pressured speech” is my “crazy talk.” Everyone deals with the disorder differently. Labeling pressured speech as my crazy talk is a way that I like to think I’m stuffing thoughts of being crazy into a specific behavior. When I can resist doing pressured speech I feel less crazy. I suppose that’s weird, but it seems to help me cope with it.

Some illnesses can be detected by looking at x-rays or surgically investigating a problem area. No medical test can be used to determine if I have Bipolar Disorder. I was required to meet with a medical person that I knew nothing about so that she could decide if I was eligible for disability status. She asked me some questions, and then we were done. I was labeled as disabled and given medical care. Since it only seemed to take mere minutes to determine that I have Bipolar Disorder, I wondered if I had acted excessively crazy. I tried to answer her questions honestly and without spending time trying to use wording that would influence her decision.

Whenever a person assesses me (which they regularly do to determine if I’m still eligible for mental health care), I hope that they are well versed in identifying the signs of the illness and are confident in determining if I have it or not. The first behavioral clue that screams that I have Bipolar Disorder appears to be my speech. I talk all the time. And fast. My kids tell me to stop and take a breath. Talking. I have so much to say. Okay, that isn’t a mental illness. It’s irritating, but it isn’t a mental illness. However, pressured speech can be evidence of it. Pressured speech is something that I do all the time. Even when I’m depressed, I still manage to have pressured speech. So what the heck is it?

Pressured speech is different for every person. Just about all the lists of symptoms of Bipolar Disorder will have it on them. Let me explain what it looks like in me.

People may wonder if I have Bipolar Disorder when they hear me speak too fast and sound like there is some crisis that I feel compelled to tell others about it. I can sound erratic and talk without stopping or even noticing that someone else might want to speak. I am not easy to interrupt. Often what I say is irrelevant or strange, and the person I’m talking at doesn’t know what I’m talking about. When I have pressured speech, I may not stop talking when I usually would. I act like what I’m saying is urgent and essential and it doesn’t matter whether or not the person trying to listen can follow me or not.

I seem to speak like I’m leaning into a wind, a mighty wind, and I’m bent over trying to stay standing. You could say that I am pushing a car up a hill that never ends. The pressure I apply to keep the car moving is just like the way I talk like I am pushing forward faster and harder all the time.

My speech is pressed out of me with an urgency that doesn’t even come close to the situation. It is as though I’m waving a flag in a frenzy announcing to the world that I have delusions of grandeur. What I say is of great importance even though it is often fragmented and random. I speak with urgency thinking that what have to say is so important that I have to be listened to right this very second and I have to tell everything to you all at once. All at once may mean that I’m going to talk at you for as long as I can unless someone stops me. Occasionally I can stop myself, but that’s usually when I see the listeners face and it registers with me that they seem to think that they’re being faced with listening to a crazy person.

I bet you didn’t know that pressured speech was such a  complicated symptom. That’s cool. It’s also a written example of me with pressured speech. <Deep breath, sigh>

Sometimes, when I’m finally taking a little break, I realize that I’m getting tired. Pressured speech can be hard work. Listeners should try to be more understanding. Don’t you think so?  <Heh>

<This is unedited and is a demonstration of pressured speech as I experience it. It may be different for another person, and it is different for me each time that I do it, which is a lot, all day long. It is meant to illustrate what people mean when they use the term “pressured speech” when talking about Bipolar Disorder.>

Bipolar Parent

Greetings friends, how are you doing in these wee hours of Friday morning?

Me? I’ve been both better and worse. Thursday had hours I enjoyed… then it crashed and burned as only the day of a parent can do.

When my three kids were young I had impressed even my ex-mother-in-law (let’s call her Kathy) with how well behaved and just good all around people my children were. Now, we are being stalked by rough and naked emotions that have always existed (that would be me, Bipolar parent) but are now beyond my own mind and have grabbed hold of my youngest.

I thought I was a good person growing up. I felt as though I were a likable person, yet I didn’t have many friends. I was lonely much of the time and kept my own company out on our small ranch with my horse, dogs, cats, chickens, pigs, cows and the occasional ducks.

I was a shit.

Seriously. I was a short, freckled shit. Today my mother and I can look years back and point to much of my careening and completely out of control behavior and emotions and say, “That, that right there!” And recognize it as full on Bipolar Disorder presenting before I even had my drivers license.

In short – I was angry all the time and blamed everyone one else for everything. My depression and anger were crushing me and the only name I could give it was – sin. I was a practicing Christian and all those “evil” emotions were clearly not of God… but that’s a topic for another time.

My youngest and his regular doctor decided that he does not have the highly genetic Bipolar brain that I’m still learning to embrace. Anxiety. Depression. Mania. Mood swings. Irrational behavior. That’s Scott, my “I’m a psych major. I already know how to deal with anger and anxiety.”

Scott is transitioning from my second daughter, Sydney, to my second son, Scott. (Incidentally my father’s name was Scott.) Scott is undergoing hormone treatment. He wasn’t always easy to talk to about things that he felt “attacked” him. Now he’s so much more difficult.

I despair.

He turns 21 this Saturday. He’s angry and bitter and is working so hard to make people not like him that I just want to sit down and breathe like I’m having a baby all the time. He and his wife are both psychology majors who it seems aren’t studying behavior.

Odd.

Scott sounds just like I did. If transitioning changes him into the sex his mind believes him to be, then I will continue to try to learn and gain deeper understanding. However, he’s a grown man (he says) and I expect him to at least respect me.

§ On Father’s Day Scott thanked me for being both his mom and his dad growing up. §

What I will not do is accept from him the same behavior at 21 that I had at 14. He has tools around him to teach him about what’s running loose in his little grey cells. Me – religion, animals, and hypnosis.

The weight of his relentless ill-will and violent anger crushed me at dinner. It was like fighting with my dad, but I was the reasoning one (yeah, no. My dad wasn’t good at being rational when angry either.)

Top the whole bloody mess off with a leaking red cherry on it and you have a self-entitled disrespecting second son.

I’m not having it anymore.

Being a parent with Bipolar is terrifying literally every second of that child’s life for me. With Scott acting like the individual (did I mention pressured speech?) that he clearly isn’t I have no clue how to even begin to help him to stop yelling into my face that I should shut up because I’m not listening.

Huh?

Parenting the twenty-something kid today is a massive challenge for this Bipolar mom. I have been charged with the crime of trying to build good family memories. I have felt despair and anger towards Scott. These are not the memories I want to build. We’re going to work this out, but I realize that I will very possibly react like I have Bipolar Disorder while we do it.

I can do this. I can figure out my part in healing our relationship. Be loving and kind… and forgiving.

However, Scott is a grown man and if he does not have Bipolar Disorder or some other explanation for his behavior, then he’d better watch out. I corralled the three of them through their teens by myself and while not properly medicated for my illness.

Respect me as your mom.

Respect my illness.

Respect yourself and get help if we just can’t talk it out.

I really wanted to go old school, like back to when I was a kid, and wash his mouth out with some nasty bar of soap like Dial or Lava and spank him with a wooden spoon. Two if the first one breaks.

Sigh….. parenting never ends, not really. My mom is still my mom. Who else would she be?

Scott, baby? YOU! It’s time for YOU to shut up and listen.

Bipolar – Success

I’ve had a vision stuck in the farthest recesses of my mind that I wanted to graduate from UWT since I was in high school over 35 years ago. I’ve been going to the University of Washington Tacoma for the last three years. Each year my troubled mind kicked and screamed in what seemed like unending sparks burning deeper and more cruelly each quarter. The extremes that my moods spanned mania, anxiety and depression still terrify me like tangible echoes that have not yet faded. But then I’ve not even been graduated for a week yet. I’ve been told I should, that I must stop being so hard on myself. I’ve made the Dean’s List nearly every quarter.

What does all this mean to me? It means that I’m still the same person. I have the same kinds of difficulties. And I can achieve more than I can achieve far more than I imagined possible only 5 years ago.

I ended my journey rough and in a sort of shock. I backed out to handle the stress that passed beyond my endurance.

But… I’d like to share some images of my fanciful trip through my personal looking glass with you. Let’s begin with the end, and then I’ll show you where it all happened (except for panicking at home every day). Please watch my slideshow with me.

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Bipolar- Families

When you, especially the parent, have debilitating Bipolar I think that we must understand that the whole family has it. It impacts all of us.

When one of my kids is having a rough time, we are all part of ignoring it, or we are part of the solution.

I’ve seen my doctor about my blackout, my lost time, my mental breakdown and we agree it is past time to fire my med provider.

I’ve finally graduated. I’m able to play attention to my own health beyond giving every ounce of my being to school so I wouldn’t implode.

But now, my family needs me. It’s time to be fierce.

I’m not taking any crap anymore.

Sometimes I have to hit beyond the rocks at the bottom to get my attention.

I’m not full of the life destroying anxiety that my med provider refused to treat me for. What I am, is incredibly 😡.

Enough.

Bipolar – I Lost Time

https://etiquetteofmadness.wordpress.com/2018/06/09/bipolar-i-lost-time/

Bipolar – I Lost Time

https://etiquetteofmadness.wordpress.com/2018/06/09/bipolar-i-lost-time/

Bipolar Disorder-Announcing a New, Really Helpful Book on Living Successfully With Our Super Powers

Success_Key_400x400

I’m graduating from the University of Washington at Tacoma on the 11th. I can’t wait. This entire year the pressure has been building within me. It feels tangible, like a physical thing pulling at me, never letting me alone.

I broke. I threw the mouse for my laptop. I threw it really hard right in front of my daughter who has just moved in with me. I scared her. It’s been years since I’ve acted like that, so violent and scary. She didn’t know what to do. My dog, who is supposed to be my emotional support dog, ran for Jessica’s room and hid there until it was safe to come back out. I had to get her to forgive me and we calmed each other down. She doesn’t like me yelling, raiding my voice or swearing.

The pressure to get a job frightens me and cracks begin to tear in the fragile being that is me.

My grandfather had a window washing company and a carpet cleaning company. When he retired my father and mother took it over. Now, my brother and his partner run the company, I have had two publishing companies that I started myself. Then my brain went kaboom! And it all went away.

I’ve gone back to college hoping to gain the skills necessary to better start and run another new business. I’m planning on having another publishing company that focuses on non-fiction, especially regarding mental health. Here, in this blog, I share with you my honest experiences and troubles. What I don’t do, is preach to you about what I think are answers to my problems. If you scan my posts, you may see different ways I deal with my illnesses.

Announcing a New, Really Helpful Book on
Living Successfully With Our Super Powers

I believe that the dozens and dozens of books on mental illness and especially on Bipolar Disorder miss the mark in dealing with the real issues I face every day. Let me give you an example. I don’t know about you, but I have a ton of trouble focusing on one thing long enough finish it. Also, anxiety has been beating me over the head and for the first time, I felt it was necessary to tell my family and my counselor that I’d been having brief moments of wanting to hurt myself. I’ve felt it so strongly that I was frightened that I might actually do something.

Am I qualified to give advice regarding Bipolar Disorder? I don’t have a degree in psychology, but I have raised three kids on my own. I’ve been dealing with my illness for as long as I can recall. My mother always thought it was her fault that I behaved the way I did. I finally learned that I had been presenting symptoms since I was very young. She thought I was possessed I think. My parents sent me to stay for the summer with her very religious sister and her family. I think she was hoping it might change me. It never did. Oh, I want to mention that I have a degree in Religious Education (or something like that). I no longer actively practice my faith.

Why am I qualified to undertake this project? I care about each of you. I want to present different ideas on how to survive and even thrive despite having a life long illness. I’ll be getting my degree in Writing Studies in a few days. Hopefully that has taught me how to communicate my thoughts better. I don’t aim for perfection in my blogs. I just want to express my real life situations and feelings to you.

Most of the books that I have are primarily loaded with worksheets. Worksheets! I can barely sit still long enough to focus and understand a short chapter there’s no way I’m doing worksheets. How do you feel about them?

Well, that’s enough of that. Maybe you’ll be interested in it, maybe you won’t. To each is his own.

I am a survivor. I might fall and be all scuffed up, but I’ll heal and I’ll get back to work. I believe that I know what my passion is and I’ve committed myself to give myself over to it.

Have you ever considered doing that?

I hope that you’ll stick around and maybe recommend my blog to others who might resonate with it.

We are a group of people who are not understood by the general public. We’ve gone from being stuck in special hospitals for the instant and given inhumane treatments to today when we are blamed for mass shootings. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time that we rally around ourselves and learn about ourselves first. Then, I would like to see us enter into our communities and make a difference. We are real people who want to live real lives.

I’m not going to try to get you to come to seminars where I will convince you to purchase expensive kits that include DVDs, workbooks, cards to memorize and other “useful” things.

No, that’s not how it should be done.

There are more of us who suffer from illnesses like Bipolar Disorder than “normal” people could possibly imagine. We are everywhere. I think it’s time to take our special superpowers and use them to change our lives, and maybe our world.

Do we have superpowers? Of course, we do. Can you recall the last time someone you know was suffering and you understood how they felt and knew just what to do for them? No? Well, don’t be discouraged. Our superpowers are often there and doing their things. We just don’t recognize them for what they are.

So school’s almost over and I’ll have time to work exclusively on my new business. There is so much for me to learn. And I have so much to share with you.

If you’re curious or have a suggestion for me to consider please email me right away. I’ll take every message seriously. After all, who knows better what will help us other than ourselves.

I think it’s time to rock! How about you? Are you ready to get the messy monster off your back even a little bit? I can’t cure you. No one can. If they tell you they can they are liars. What I can do is walk alongside you, understand your pain, and search for ways to live fulfilling lives.

Please tell me what you think about this project. I honestly want to hear your thoughts on it.

Oh one more thing, I find a lot of things funny. I had one of my class in stitches Thursday. I was supposed to be giving a presentation and I turned it into a standup routine. I can’t help myself. I love to make people laugh. I didn’t talk about my illness, but I have many times before. There is so much that I have to take with a dose of laughter.

Well, be well my friends

Robin

Bipolar – Please Believe in Me

I’m at the end of one phase of my life and am about to begin another.

I must seem as worried about a job and such as anyone else…

…but I’m not.

I have a mood disorder. If you understand the implications of that then when I tell you I’m not worried like others and that it’s worse, so crippling it destroys me from the inside out.

I cannot tell you about all the emotions that wait to catch me around the neck when I wake in the morning because then they might seize me because running away is not easily done with hysterical tears choking my vision.

I’m going to graduate. I’m 55 and I’m terrified.

My brain, in the past, has not been kind to me.

I wish I could tell you that all will be well, that the friends who snubbed me won’t matter because I will make many more who are mature, understand that life is most often not what it seems and that I will be financially successful and secure and able to help my kids.

I wish I could tell you those things will happen – and so I shall.

I’ve spontaneously been saying to this people when they ask how I am —

At this moment, at this precise second, at this exact instant in time I’m doing very well. In fact, I’m doing awesome!

Can you imagine it? A lone middle-aged woman with no job and not much chance of one, A graduate. A degree. Bonkers. Can you see me?

I’ve never had a job that lasted more than a year except for when I worked for myself. Imagine with me, that I have amassed all that is my life, both past and what is still to come…and now feel the certainty of the word “failure” burning across my forehead.

It isn’t the truth. It’s a screwed up bipolar lie. The intensity that is me is huge and is ready – no matter what may come, to really see who I am.

I have a really crappy mega mood disorder, but, but…

— at this exact moment in time I’m good, I’m really good.

How are you? Right now? Precisely at this instance?

Be well my friends,

Robin

— at this exact moment in time I’m good, I’m really good

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Bipolar – Letting Go. The Great Pause of a Moment in My Mind – Peace

www.youtube.com/watch {Please watch this short music video so you can get the gist of what I’m relating to you.}

Sometimes, I remember that moments of peace I experience are often when I’m outside of my head.

Perhaps you’ve never seen a video like this before. The first time through for me I just watched. Then I played it again and again. I closed my eyes and let go of all the thoughts that had been overwhelming me. I let the sounds that I heard, unfamiliar as they were, snuff out the ever present junk… that Bipolar junk.

Whether it is this video or some other, find one that you can abandon yourself in. Try something without lyrics. The words will only guide you and keep the constant brain usage, the chatter, at maximum, just like I always do.

I went outside without my phone, tablet, book, or laptop today. There was no human to talk to. It was just Bailey and I and a few flies. No one mowed, destroyed weeds with a buzz saw or played their bloody music at all.

It was amazing. Stunning. I stopped. Peace. This must be real peace.

Twice today I experienced genuine peace in my Bipolar, ADHD, PTSD, anxiety riddled mind and I fell in love with it.

No drugs or talk therapy. Simply stopping. Simply unplugging. Simply letting go.

Give it a try and see if you can touch your bit of peace. Try for it. As full of bananas as my brain is, I found it. I bet you can too. Now, stop everything from bugging you for five tiny minutes, and let the peace break in on the reliable back, of music.