There is spring on my page. Picture taken on one of my nature walks with a friend last spring/summer. My friend and I spent a lot of time in the different nature areas in the state parks near the Pine Barrens in the state of NJ. It is hard for me to walk, but my doctor wants me to walk everyday for at least 30 minutes, preferably 60 minutes. Right now that isn’t possible although last summer we had gotten closer to walking at least a half an hour before I needed a break. Walking in the nature areas is softer and easier on my feet. I can’t handle walking on harder surfaces for long at all. The only major problem is that we have to deal with ticks. They freak me out and after our walks have to look for the little buggers.
My son dug out a space on the road so I could park my car out there and get in and out easily enough. The snow plow only does one single land sweep down the street. There are 3 cars here and my dad is in the driveway and my son and I are on the street. Between the trees and the way the house is positioned we are usually the last ones with snow. It is quite deep and very icy so it will take a while to melt.
As the weather gets milder I should start walking again and take my camera. I have a lot of digital pictures, but not sure if there are some I can use to spice up my pages. I need the picture to go with the post. I am finding writing a post everyday harder than I thought.
Today is Saturday and every Saturday my friend and I meet for brunch and talk about everything, but part of the conversation is geared to decluttering. I personally am a hoarder (low level) and have a problem letting go. This blog will also contain my progress once I restart. I just went through a severe depression and that halted my progress. I was manic for about 4 weeks and got so much done and then bam I started sliding backwards again. Perfectly normal state of affairs for me. Like I said in an earlier post “I want my mania back!”
The stigma of mental health is one that needs to eliminated. I hereby pledge to do what I can about the stigma of mental health issues and to share my own experiences with these disorders.
I am very open about my life, my medical (physical and mental) problems and life in general. My medical problems are things I don’t have a lot of control over. Even the mental is open to conversation. I feel if talking about it helps just one person, I have done something worthy. Even though there is a stigma attached to most of my medical conditions I want to make a mark in this world so they become just medical conditions like cancer. I don’t feel like an outcast even when I shared with coworkers or my actions while manic caused a small ruckus at work. The way I figure it is that this is the way I am and I have to do with it what I can.
I have recently returned to God. I felt for a long time that there couldn’t be a God because why would God allow this to happen. Why would he make my life so miserable. They say God only gives you what you can handle. Maybe God made me this way to help others in my situation. Maybe this is my purpose. I haven’t felt too worthy of anything for most of my life. I didn’t feel I deserved much out of life because I wasn’t contributing much, but by reaching out to others I do feel worthy. I am working on accepting my purpose as I now see it.
So in answer to why am I talking about these things, my answer is – WHY NOT!
I have asked myself this several times. Why am I writing this blog rather than working on my story/poem blog and the best I can answer is because writer’s must write something and I need to get a lot out of my system according to my psycho-therapist. I know he wants me to journal and to work on my childhood. Your childhood is what forms you and so it makes sense to try and work on that part of my life. I have resisted so far, but I find myself starting to get a little excited and if that means writing a journal style blog rather than my story/poem blog for now then so be it. Writing is writing.
If I am honest I am dwelling on things that happened in my past and they are overcoming my current existence. I will say I will be writing this in no particular order. I will write as the thoughts come so we can go from past to present and possibly even the future and back again. I find it difficult with my mental health to stay focused on the present. I am a worrier (someone has to do it) and so tend to constantly be thinking of multitudes of things at one time. My thoughts race due to the BiPolar Disorder and to add to that I have Borderline Personality Disorder which means my moods cycle more rapidly than someone with just Bipolar Disorder and I never know what mood I might be in. Go from mania to depression in 30 minutes or less and wonder how you would feel if you can. It is not fun. My family never knows what to expect from me.
I also have Anxiety and Panic Disorders, OCD (Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder), PTSD and possibly ADHD thrown in for good measure. The ADHD was never officially diagnosed, but I was on Ritalin for a while and it did help me focus better. Right now I can’t focus on anything much for very long. I start something and find my mind and body focusing on something else and before I know it I have 20 projects started and none completed and that adds to the hoarding problem I have. I am a low-level hoarder and you won’t find nasty food or animal feces all over. I have a cat and she has a cat box which thankfully she uses. I belong to several online groups for the clutter/hoarding and they are giving me positive support to help me through the experience of trying to clean it all up. Will I ever get it all cleaned up. I would like to say yes, but it is doubtful as I work on it depending on my moods and with the mania I feel like doing it, but the depression I would rather stay in bed and that is usually what I do. I have made a difference in here during my last mania session, but now I am severely depressed and I really don’t care at this point. I am even starting to slide backwards. That is why I doubt it is possible to finally get it all cleaned up.
Speaking of support groups, I have gone to a local one in real life. Little bit harder to talk about these things face to face with a group. I do much better with online groups.
My head is full of things to write for this blog. Shame I can’t focus that on something more creative, but maybe a rest from that will be good for me.
By Teresa Smeigh April 2019
It is estimated that only 50 to 60 percent of people with Bipolar Disorder can hold down full-time employment. I worked during most of my adult life and I had to juggle my Bipolar Disorder. At first, I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was in my 30’s before I got an official diagnosis.
My major problem was focusing on my work. My mind was constantly roaming here and there. Sometimes it was racing thoughts and sometimes I was simply day-dreaming. My supervisors were constantly giving me partially bad reviews on my work. I was a good worker when I could stay focused on what I was doing, but when unfocused or day-dreaming, I lost out on valuable work time and employers just don’t understand that. You are there to work, not waste time thinking about other things.
When you have Bipolar Disorder, you can walk through the days as carefree as anyone who is considered normal one day, and a few weeks later be unable to drag yourself out of bed. Missing days is something else bosses don’t like.
Through the ups and downs of your illness you must show up on time and perform your job. If you feel mania coming on it is best to contact your doctor who can advise you. Multi-tasking is hard when you can’t keep your focus on your work. Have a friend who can alert you when you become super talkative or are talking inappropriately. That is one of the major problems with mania. Also take care with your emails. During mania your life can become out of your control and you don’t want your emails sent to everyone when you aren’t thinking straight.
When depressed, one of the biggest problems you deal with is getting to work. You struggle out of bed and sometimes that is as far as you get. More lost time at work.
You are under no obligation to disclose your disability to your employer. It is up to you as to when you disclose and to whom you choose to confide in. Some people go years or even decades without letting their employer know about their illness and some never make the disclosure. If your work is going well there is no reason to tell the employer.
If, however, things are not going well it can be important to carefully disclose your illness. I have been told you should talk to someone in human resources. Although you may want to talk to your supervisor, it is best to seek out someone in HR so all official policies are followed. In addition, your HR representative is bound by confidentiality requirements. Telling your supervisor or co-workers can seem like a good idea, but in the end can make your illness part of the gossip mill.
I told my supervisor and coworkers at one of my last jobs. They took it well and didn’t discuss it with everyone. However, when things were going bad, my supervisor would send me home and tell me not to come back until I was under control. My work started suffering more than normal and my last review there was bad, and I was denied a raise, even a cost of living raise. I hadn’t realized until that time and I began to think about past jobs, that my Bipolar Disorder had indeed disrupted my work experience over the years.
I worked for several more years after that last job laid me off, but eventually I went out on disability for both physical and mental illnesses.
When I was stable, I was a good employee and worked hard. When the Bipolar Disorder was running rampant, I was constantly having troubles with any job I had.
Advocate for mental health and invisible illnesses, also a devout Christian
I have looked on International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) to see if I ever posted this article and I did not see it listed so I am going to post it on here as I no longer write for them and I believe it is still my work since they didn’t post it on their site that I can see. You can use the above link if you are interested in reading the Bipolar Disorder articles I wrote for them.
I don’t feel stigmatized by having Bipolar Disorder. I find it a way that I can help others. I have been through just about everything that you can experience with this disorder. I am not embarrassed and feel thankful to be able to help others.
There are times that I feel useless. I am disabled in physical ways and so I don’t work anymore. Working with my bipolar was hard, but I didn’t even realize I had a problem then. I never could focus. I was always daydreaming and my reviews always mentioned this. Since I daydreamed all my life it was just an annoyance that my bosses didn’t like and I had no idea how to stay focused. I now know that I was dissociating from my life and had to be snapped back into this world. Now that I understand, I can help others.
Another thing is self-harm. I have bit and chewed the skin off my fingers since I was a little girl. The more upset and anxious I was, the worse the biting. I now know that is a part of self-harm. Self-harm just isn’t cutting like I thought it was and I tried cutting. It didn’t give me what I needed, but tearing the skin off my fingers did. People were surprised to find out that there are many types of self-harm besides cutting. I also pick scabs on my head mostly although I do also pick at loose skin as well.
I have bipolar 1 with psychosis. I see, hear, and feel things. I find this depends on the medications I take. The medications can also affect my dreams. I have horrendous dreams. I wake up screaming. If you take medications and find that you suffer from the above-mentioned problems, perhaps you need to try another medication. At least talk it over with your psychiatrist.
Mania has a lot of behaviors that are hard to control. Spending, hypersexuality, thoughts of grandeur and even thoughts that you are Jesus or God or someone else famous. Again, talk with your psychiatrist or in the case of thinking you are someone on a grand scale perhaps your psychiatrist can help and maybe even a change in medicine is needed.
Some people can take just a mood-stabilizer (anti-psychotic) for bipolar, but for me just a mood stabilizer causes depression rather than stabilization. I must take an anti-depressant as well to boost me out of the deep, deep depression.
Suicide is a real danger with bipolar or any mental illness. Please talk it over with your psychiatrist, therapist, a suicide call line or simply go to the hospital. I have been twice. Once for attempted suicide and once for psychosis with suicidal ideations. Inpatient can be difficult, but you are safe there.
As I said I do not hesitate to talk about my bipolar, anxiety, panic attacks, OCD and Post Traumatic Syndrome. If someone needs help, I am there for them.
If you feel suicidal or even worried about mental illness being a problem for you then go see a therapist or psychiatrist for a full work up. If the suicidal thoughts are severe and you are ready to do it, please go directly to the hospital.
Your life is worth it. Everyone’s life is worth it.
Advocate for mental health and invisible illnesses, also a devout Christian
I have chosen to write for the mental health topic. It is very important to me that we support all those with mental health issues and I personally suffer from a good amount of them myself.
B stands for Bipolar Disorder.
The below definition for Bipolar Disorder was taken from Wikipedia. To read more click here:
Bipolar disorder, previously known as manic depression, is a mental disorder that causes periods of depression and periods of abnormally elevated mood. The elevated mood is significant and is known as mania or hypomania, depending on its severity, or whether symptoms of psychosis are present. During mania, an individual behaves or feels abnormally energetic, happy, or irritable. Individuals often make poorly thought out decisions with little regard to the consequences. The need for sleep is usually reduced during manic phases. During periods of depression, there may be crying, a negative outlook on life, and poor eye contact with others. The risk of suicide among those with the illness is high at greater than 6 percent over 20 years, while self-harm occurs in 30–40 percent. Other mental health issues such as anxiety disorders and substance use disorder are commonly associated with bipolar disorder.
I suffered from my early childhood years on, with it getting worse as I matured. We didn’t know what was wrong with me as a child and in the 1950’s they didn’t talk about mental illness. During my manic times I would not sleep at all and this could last for months on end. I didn’t need it. I was full of energy. Once the depressive part took over I was constantly tired and didn’t want to get out of bed or do anything. It was a crazy life, but I simply knew nothing else.
As an adult I didn’t cycle quite as often. I didn’t go for months with no sleep. It actually seemed better except the depression became more enhanced. The mania slowed down. It seemed calmer in my 20’s and 30’s, but then in my late 30’s I had my first real breakdown and had to seek help from a psychiatrist and a psychologist and my first time on medicine started. The medications didn’t help and there weren’t as many back then. Today there are a lot of psychiatric medications, but I am still having trouble finding a cocktail that works for me. I am also in therapy once a week at the minimum. Without a mood stabilizer I am now a rapid cycler. My mood can change in minutes, or hours, not the months it used to take for mood changes.
After a suicide attempt I had 2 hospitalizations and my newest diagnosis about 3 years ago was Bipolar 1 with psychosis. It seems seeing and hearing things also makes you psychotic. My medications contain an anti-depressant with a mood stabilizer or anti-psychotic and of course my anti-anxiety medication for which I need to survive at this point. The simplest things send me into a major panic.
Anti-depressants may not be prescribed for Bipolar Disorder as they will trigger mania if not taken with a mood stabilizer, such as Lithium or an anti-psychotic. I never understood why taking an antidepressant only in the beginning was such a problem. Over the years they came to realize that someone with Bipolar Disorder can’t take just an anti-depressant.
Advocate for mental health and invisible illnesses, also a devout Christian