A Stigma Worth Fighting

“He started breathing heavy like he was going to make himself hyperventilate.”

I listened to my friend explain a difficult coworker and how they have bad anxiety. All I could think about was the time I hyperventilated while I was in the service, and how they probably talked about me the same way my friend is…making it sound like it was on purpose. I was a little annoyed to be honest, and sad that this kid does not have the support from their job, then paranoid that people talked negatively about my events.

Let’s be real, in America you are considered useless unless you can work. People judge you based on your job performance more so than your personality or life situation. Even though we all go through stuff, companies can’t profit off of those that have mental illness’. I get it, money has to be made, but why do we have to be such assholes about it? What can we do to improve both situations, the job and the person?

Could we end the stigma?

An often politicized stereotype about people with mental illness is that they are violent or dangerous. However, a small minority of people living with mental illness commit violent acts. They are actually 10 times more likely to be victims of a crime, making them a vulnerable population we should be protecting instead of fearing.

So let’s start with fear by educating. Remember those guest speakers in high school and such? We could start there. Start at freshman level and continue every year.

To make change you must inspire change.

Mental illness is a serious issue and people need to know that it’s not ok and that we cannot assume someone was “trying to make himself hyperventilate”.

We are all just trying our best in an unforgiving world.


Image URL: http://Rise Above by cosmicevu on DeviantArt https://www.deviantart.com/cosmicevu/art/Rise-Above-886044928

Article on mental health stigma: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/mental-health-stigma#why-is-mental-health-stigmatized

Narcissistic Love

Have you ever dated a suspected narcissist?

I have. 💩 sucks.

Back in 2015 I had the worst break up of my life. Like PTSD inducing trauma kind of break up. I am not ready to talk about it to the blogging world, but years and years down the road it is a trauma that I have yet to process.

The things that happened shaped me into who I am today, and I hope that it was for a purpose at least. I learn new ways it shaped my brain all of the time, and now that I am diagnosed I can see how my Bipolar came into play as well. It is a dark road I know I am coming to, but I have been taking detours since the event and it has been exhausting.

Narcissism is a large factor in my tale, and I did not realize it then until I went through it. The boy I met was originally charming, funny, exciting and had the best eyes. As soon as he reeled me in, things became ugly as I fought back. I like to think I am an independent person, so someone trying to control me made for tension and lash-backs, and narcissist have a very hard time with that.

While everyone may show occasional narcissistic behavior, true narcissists frequently disregard others or their feelings.

 WebMD Editorial Contributors

You can identify Narcissist Personality Disorder (Yes, a real disorder!) by their outward behaviour such as:
– Grandiosity. Not just occasionally, but regularly.
– Sense of entitlement
– Manipulative behavior
– Lack of Empathy

NPD is a real disorder, which like mine…means that the person that terrorized me had a genuine problem with their brain, both chemically and emotionlessly. When I read the article posted below, I realized that just like me…he was undiagnosed and suffering too. It does not excuse the behavior, we knew right from wrong, but it sheds light on a problem individuals are facing today and may not even know.

Ugh. That means I need to dive into NPD and get down to his level to come to terms with the event?

Lame.


NPD Article:
https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/narcissism-symptoms-sign
Image Url:
https://www.deviantart.com/xbliss/art/Manic-and-Depression-1-of-8-45734708

Motor Control

Why can’t I hold on to stuff?

Physically and mentally?

I think the other day I was talking to a coworker and grabbed something, only to drop it. I put it back, grabbed for it again, and knocked it over. It was a weird moment, honestly, but it got me to notice patterns where I am dropping random things all of the time.

I read an interesting website that explained that motor skills and brain chemistry go hand in hand. When the chemistry is off, the skills are upset as well.

Our findings show that approximately 60% of patients with bipolar disorder demonstrate significant impairments in the ability to maintain steady-state force or the ability to scale velocity with distance

The Journal of Neuropsychiatry

And speaking of mentally losing stuff:

My short term memory has been horrible lately. Like forget what I am doing constantly when I am trying to do one simple task. It has been upsetting me lately, but mainly because I feel like I am losing my mind. I am hearing things, seeing things, and feeling things and it’s all so overwhelming.

I attribute this to the dosage going up with Abilify. I spoke with a friend on it similar medication, and they said for the first few months they also experienced short term memory loss. They said it went away though, so here’s to hoping I see a break.


Article on Motor Skills and Bipolar:
https://neuro.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/jnp.2006.18.3.342#:~:text=We%20found%20that%20approximately%2060,both%20forms%20of%20motor%20impairment.

Image URL:
https://www.deviantart.com/beethy/art/anxiety-314402192

Mania

In short, for myself, I am a hard act to follow.

― Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

She’s still there.

As the abilify builds up in my system, she has appeared. The other night I stayed up until 2 a.m. even though I was tired. I could not get her down until I caved and took my anxiety med. I was irritated that she came back when I was feeling so level before but…lo and behold. I feel it.

Mania is strange. I love the energy, the productivity, and the extra dopamine. Without the racing thoughts it is a plus. So to say mania is an unwelcome guest would be wrong, but she is one of those guests you like to see every once in awhile- not be a bad roommate. The disrupted sleep, constant energy flow and task jumping is exhausting.

Mania is the main indicator of Bipolar and is often not present when an individual might seek help. Bipolar disorder is hard to pinpoint because people often get help only for their depression, like I did. She’s a good actress because manic feels so good and unbeknownst to you- it’s not normal. I lived with this for so long thinking I was just weird, but an average human being.

Nay nay. It turned out to be Bipolar.
Not to mention the poopoo platter of other disorders.

If you experience patterns of behavior such as bouts of depression, quick mood swings, and levels of energy where you seem to “clean your depression mess“, I encourage you to seek a psychiatrist and therapist to properly diagnose you.

Image URL: https://www.deviantart.com/era7/art/Goddess-of-the-Universe-II-896441132
Bipolar Signs and Symptoms:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355955

Day 10

To a mind that is still, a whole universe surrenders.

Lao Tzu

Ten days that I have been on my medication now, and those ten days have been interesting. Once I got past the initial shock of having a clear head and sprinkled in some life experience, I have started to notice a few things…

1. Short term memory loss worsened. There was a day that I forgot to close the door after I buckled my kid into the car seat. I left the door wide open and the dogs put in their kennels all day while I worked. It didn’t even register that I forgot it all day until I saw it wide open when I got home. Boy I freaked out, my mind went rampant with paranoi. I searched every nook and cranny for someone hiding, made sure nothing was stolen, and felt anxious every time the dogs barked at the door (when my neighbors stir) or when I heard a creak. It took awhile to calm down. I was actually very lucky that nothing was stolen and no one has shown up uninvited.

2. Irritability. I’m more annoyed or at least aware of what annoys me and snappy.

3. It doesn’t fix everything. I think that’s important to know. It enable me to process and make decisions, but I still suffer from my other diagnosis’.

Everyone experiences medication differently, so please remember that this is my personal experience. Tomorrow the dosage goes up so I am interested to see how that goes as well.


Image URL: https://www.deviantart.com/qinni/art/Bird-Cage-825652661

Abilify information: Abilify

Impulse Impulse Impulse

Uh Oh 😬

Chapstick – Coin

What is the worst thing you bought on impulse?

For me it was a king size bed, dresser, and night stand 😂 my ex husband said no to one so once I left, I got one 😬 but mannnnnnn…..

This stuff is heavy af 😩 I have had to move it so many times 😤 across Texas and across to another state!

And did I have the money for it? No. I paid a loan on it. With my tax return, I paid it off instead of collections 🙄

As a young adult my impulsive behavior started with promiscuity and spending. I was not used to the attention I received, and I may have gone a bit wild. This led to trauma, guilt, PTSD, and anxiety in the end…

As an adult woman it showed up in just spending. I still spend and don’t follow a budget until I feel like making one, like when I’m in my one of my self improvement kicks. I am blessed to be able to afford what I can and give my kid a decent life.

Bipolar and impulsivity go hand in hand. When we are young we take it as “young and dumb” behavior but in my case, I believe I was bipolar then. My mind would tell me don’t do it girl, but I would do it anyways.

That notion has followed me until this day, even on medication, but I am slowly learning how to manage it but consciously telling myself no. Push that aside.

Focus.


Article on Impulse and Bipolar: https://www.nature.com/articles/npp2013218

Image URL: .366. by polgaroid on DeviantArt https://www.deviantart.com/polgaroid/art/366-35172174

A Bipolar Pregnancy

My pregnancy was fairly easy to be honest. I was undiagnosed, but physically my child was healthy. I think I threw up once because I brushed my teeth wrong but that was it. I was blessed to have an easy time, even if the aftermath wasn’t the best time.

I had an emergency c-section because the baby was in distress. After recovering, I was up visiting baby in the NICU. For six days I got up every three hours to saunter my way to feed my little human. Breastfeeding is a hell of a challenge, and it was not getting his glucose levels up, so I did half and half.

The postpartum depression started almost immediately. Over night my life drastically changed. Even though I knew it was coming, I didn’t fully understand what it meant.

At my moms home we switched caring for baby while the men did their own thing. It wasn’t my ideal situation, but I was happy for the help. I lasted five months before thinking a job would fix me. One job turned into another, and from my previous post you can see how I spiraled.

I was treated for depression with medication and that worked for a time. My signs of PPD were depression, guilt, anxiety, trouble doing tasks, lack of motivation and crying a lot.

During my pregnancy I feel like I was manic. I was in full mom mode, impulse buying furniture and decorations and a sewing machine. However, as soon as baby arrived, I hit my lowest low. It wasn’t my child at all. In fact, I would love to have more one day, but now that I am diagnosed I feel it will be in interesting ride.

I hope one day I can explain it effectively to my child that they understand me and my love for them.


Image URL: https://www.deviantart.com/naiwe/art/mother-44652005

Signs of PPD: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20376617

A Foundation To Stand On

A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.

David Brinkley
Until I Come Home – two feet, grandson

I remember sitting on the couch in a little apartment in Texas, debating on what to do. I had ran out of my antidepressant weeks ago but I thought the longer I went detoxing it out of my system, the better off I would be. I had recently left my husband so I was there alone with my walking baby, low into depression. I called the VA but it was going to take a month to get an appointment. I did not feel like I could last for that long to be honest, so I hung up the phone discouraged.

My ignorance was detrimental to this time period of my life, and it is easily the worst thing I have been through.

I could have gotten a refill with the nurse. I could have made that appointment. There’s a ton of things I could have done but did not do because I was so damn depressed and anxious, it took all of my energy just to meet my kids basic needs. He entertains himself a lot but I feel guilty that it was my depression that taught him how to play on his own.

Because of my decisions, my life spiraled out of control. I left my husband and moved into my moms, then the apartment. I was fired from the hospital I worked at for being three minutes late, so I had to use my rental income for my apartment. I had failed school so I gave up and lost my housing allowance. My home was foreclosed and I had a horribly hard time telling the tenets they had to leave. The guilt I feel for that is immense to this day. All while trying to be an okay single mom. We were evicted from the apartment so I went back to my moms. I finally found a job, but I was bullied by an employee and could not afford a place on the income.

I struggled hard for the last four years, freaking hard. It wasn’t until I saw a post on Facebook with someone I had worked with asking who would relocate and I said pick me. I got to the state I am at now, which is where I have always wanted to be, spent two months finding a place that ended up being the ghetto because credit is wack, and figured out who truly has my back in this life that I finally felt like I was on stable foundation.

Finally, I could tiptoe away from survival mode. I could figure out what it means to be Rhiannon again. There was a real change on my 30th birthday that got me wanting to accept myself and be who I am, fully and completely.

I encourage everyone to ask themselves these questions:

Who has my back? As in- Identify your support system.

Is my foundation stable?

Am I ready to process my trauma?

I truly believe that it is a blessing to be where I am and I am very thankful that I had a stable foundation to stand on, which led me to processing my trauma and identifying a problem with my mental illness. I finally saw the reality of it, which led to a psychiatrist and that led to meds. I feel pretty good on these so far. Everyone has different experiences but all I’m saying is…

We gotta deal with our 💩 if we want to be who we want to be 😩


Image URL: https://www.deviantart.com/kelogsloops/art/Breathe-620359967

Mental Illness and Memory Loss

“Yeah I’ll have to talk to my psychiatrist about that and uhhhh…there was something else.” I explained to my friend on the phone. After a long pause my brain grasped the words I needed. “Oh yeah! Memory loss!” I giggled, trying to make light of a real problem I have faced for many years.

Memory loss- is it genetic? Depression related? Bipolar related?

The same friend had told me a couple days ago that every time we talk about the electric trucks coming out, I tell them the same sentence “Yeah the front is an extra compartment instead of an engine on the Ford Lightening!”. I was a little miffed when they let me know I’ve said the same thing to them like nine times already.

I’m just excited about the extra compartment OKAY 😭

I have struggled with short term and long term memory loss for a long time now but I did not attribute it to my depression or bipolar. Since receiving a diagnosis, the past has become clearer in the sense that this was something wrong at that time and could be the cause my whole life.

Depression is a large factor in short term memory loss. Seeing as how my depression started in high school, I can see why I have had memory loss my entire adult life and how it affected me. Even today, on medication, I suffer from it.

People will remind me that we have had the same conversation before and I wish they did not, in this regard I would choose ignorance.

Ignorance is bliss sometimes.


To read more on memory loss and mental illness, view this article:

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/depression-and-memory-loss#causes

Image by me

Postpartum Depression

It was getting close to midnight when the doctor showed up and brought with her a scary word: emergency c-section. Baby wasn’t coming out on their own and was stressed. I had been in labor for about 26 hours at this point so even though the words scared me, really I just wanted the baby out and okay whichever way they needed to do it.

No one tells you about the shaking your body does as it goes into shock on the surgeons table. “I’m freaking out…” I calmly tell the nurse with the drugs, but inside my world is spinning. All I could concentrate on was the tugging and calming my own anxiety down.

Once my kid was out, I asked “What is it?!?” (I waited to find out the gender.)
“Uhhh…it’s a baby…?” Said one nurse.
No 💩, even high as a kite I knew it was a baby they just pulled out 😤🙄
“It’s a boy!” Another nurse chimed in. There he was, my perfect little human.

Everyone told me I would get this flood of overwhelming love when I saw my baby for the first time…but it never came to me.

I waited.

The reality of what happened was that I was hit with a traumatic birth, an unsupportive husband, and a new baby that was a stranger. When I say stranger, I mean that we literally had to get to know each other over the first two months. I loved him, do not misunderstand. I love him still and I will forever. I am saying it was all traumatic and quite rough on my psyche. This was not what I had imagined for nine months, to be honest.

Thank God I had my mom there for me. I lived with her on and off until I got to my current job, and she picked up on my child’s care where I left off. I went to therapy and a psychiatrist, in which I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression. I was put on an antidepressant, and it kind of worked for a time. I remember feeling up so I stopped taking the pill and the next day, I could not even move to get out of bed. That was a scary day, but without question my mom took over baby duties until she snapped me out of it.

Postpartum depression is a poison that forms in your brain, and seeps down towards your limbs. It makes the baby seem to weigh a little bit heavier, or the crying make our ears just a little more sensitive, and it even feeds these women negativity upon negativity. Anxiety sprinkled on top made me miserable with thoughts like…

You suck as a mom
Who are you?
Everything you are doing is traumatizing your kid.
You are going to get this kid killed with your ignorance.

It never really went away, it just continued a pattern of depression. I believe I was bipolar all along, and going through this wrongly medicated was not only incredibly difficult, it lead to the worst six months of my life.

But that is for another time 😉


If you suspect you might have PPD, please read the article below:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20376617
Image URL:
https://www.deviantart.com/ukulelemoon/art/Digital-Painting-Depression-is-Not-Funny-492908948