Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This Time it's Different-A New Hollowness in my Soul

She sits in front of me in a big overstuffed black leather chair, black patent pumps swaying softly while she crosses and uncrosses her legs as a nervous tick.

She is made up and looks like she just stepped out of Vogue for working women. I, on the other hand, look like an unmade bed. It's been a week since my hair was washed, and that long since I showered. I did brush my teeth and floss before I got there, and brushed my long blonde hair, tying it up in a scrunchie. My jeans are clean, but the shirt I threw on, a black turtle from LL Bean, has a white mark from deodorant, and should have gone straight in the laundry pile. No make up , not even a trace of lip gloss. My shoes are brand new and hurt, brownish tan clogs from my parents for Christmas to replace the blue ones the cat destroyed a few months earlier.

We are discussing my current med cocktail. The fact that it appears that my thyroid has shut down or is shutting down because I am constantly tired and sleeping close to 16 hours a day. I cannot eat but am drinking copious amounts of water. I crave sugar. The Dunkin Donuts across the street is singing a Siren Song to me.

Lithium is being raised to 3100 mg, Cymbalta is staying the same at 60 mg. If the lithium doesn't start working soon, I will be weaned off it and go on Lamictal. All I know is it took every ounce of effort to get there this afternoon, to get dressed, brush my teeth and drive the two miles to the therapist's office. Climb the 15 stairs to get to her room in the building. I am winded like I was in my childhood when I had asthma.

All I know is I am in crisis. My brain knows this. My mind and my soul know this. Life hurts and every breath I take makes me feel like a medieval torture devise of being crushed or weighted to death in the Tower or some other gloomy place. I just want to go to sleep and never wake up. But surprisingly, I am not suicidal. I just don't care- I just want to go to sleep and wake up as worm bait.

Raising the lithium, with the Cymbalta, now- it's not passive anymore. it's active. But not active like it was when I was on Remeron and got so suicidal I knew to get to the hospital pronto. It's different this time, but isn't every depression slightly different, like identical twins are never really totally identical?

I find it more violent, the ways I want to go out would give Stephen King a new novel and a literary hard on. It would make Jeffrey Dahmer a new recipe for madness. No OD'ing on pills and slipping gently into that good night. These are painful, horrible, dreamscapes and nightmares from a fevered mind sparked from neurons and gray cells not reacting or over reacting to chemical number 3 on the Periodic Table.

I hover between periods of sanity and insanity- wondering to go into the hospital and make arrangements for the striped baby girl, or just going to Home Depot, buying a few items, and going out one night in the parking lot when everyone is home and asleep and ending it all, the last moment of consciousness dialing 911 and telling the cops to seal off the parking lot.

Right now I can hover. I am scared I might slip. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but hopefully not soon.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

John Updike March 18, 1932-January 27, 2009

"Men are all heart and Women are all body. I don't know who has the brains. God maybe." (Rabbit, Run)

"The great thing about the dead, they make space." (Rabbit is Rich)

"Masturbation! Thou saving grace note upon the baffled chord of self. (A Month of Sundays)

"Tell your mother, if she asks, that maybe we'll meet some other time. Under the pear trees, in Paradise." (Rabbit at Rest)

One of the best short stories I ever read- A & P. Liz Spikol reproduces it here.

Author of Krusty the Klown's biography on the Simpsons.

Huge Med change today

My meds are changing today. Cymbalta- stays at 60 mg. Lithium is going from 2600 to 3100. I'm clutching at straws trying to get out of this horrible darkness, it's not only Churchill's black dog this time, it's more like Cerberus.

As Bette Davis said in "All About Eve"- "Fasten your seatbelts= It's going to be a bumpy ride".

If I can post later I will,If not back tomorrow.

In the mean time, if anyone knows about Lithium Orotate, please contact me.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Best Cute Fix in the Universe

This has to be the best cute fix in the universe. Other than puppies and babies, what else is cuter? KITTENS!

Trust Liz Spikol, to come up with the mother of all cute fixes= A Kitten Cam.

Ah Liz. You might have a girl crush on Michelle Obama, but I sure have a girl crush on you.

A friend writes of his father's suicide

I am just going to let this speak for itself. It is a beautiful, heart breaking piece written by Andy Alt, to his father who died by his own hand when he was just eight.
For every joke he tells, there is a sadness. Each sadness buried by one joke. Once he thought the joke transformed the sadness, but the joke merely blanketed the sadness to comfort it.

It’s said that tears clean one’s eyes. If the the dam broke from all of the tears from his sadness — crying an ocean over the loss of his father, the loss of his child-hood, the loss of what-could-have-been-but-never-will-be, what he never knew, what he’ll never know, feelings he’s never felt, feelings he’ll never feel, a father he can never know, nor the father who can ever know his son, a father who can never be proud of his son, a son who can never be proud of his father, a voice he’ll never hear, a father who will never hear the voice of his son, the son who can never have his father, the father who can never have his son, the life that never was, a life that never included a father, the life of a father that isn’t — if the tears for all these were shed, he could throw away his glasses and have perfect vision. And the tears would wash over his soul and clean the taint of blood and terror. All emotions, love, hope, happiness, sadness, fear, and many others, would be uncovered and laid out — existing, coexisting peacefully upon the cool sheets of time and the future.

A trickle of these tears were shed this night, for the death of a father over two decades past, and the death of a son over two decades past, each only happening yesterday. As the tears fall he could for a moment sense and feel what the father felt at the time of his death, and then the son shed even more tears for the pain which the father felt at the moment the father’s finger was upon the trigger. The son could almost feel the father’s presence, and the son reached out his hand, but there was no hand to take it. He told the father that he missed and loved him, and that he knew the father missed and loved him as well.

And I realized that I do indeed have a father, but he is dead. Some of the sadness now uncovered, the tears dry, the ink falls from my pen,
and I see that I’ve written about the loss of two men.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I don't understand people,

and I don't think I ever will.

Two news stories leading the media tonight. Each involving a beautiful two year old girl. Both dead, each allegedly at the hands of the very person who brought them into the world. And both mothers allegedly allowed their daughters to decay in a most horrible manner before they were found and given a proper burial. I say allegedly because under the law, these cases have not been to trial and in the USA you are innocent until proven guilty.

One girl, was named Riley Ann Saunders. Her mother and father allegedly beat her to death, and then stuck her in a plastic container and dumped into Galveston Bay, Texas. The story is here. Not for the faint of heart. The other, unless you have been hiding under a rock, has been the staple of cable media since June 2008, is that of poor Caylee Anthony.

According to the DSM I may be "mentally ill", but I wonder about these mothers- what they are. And I hope, the DSM V can come up with a word to explain it. Because all I can think of is "Evil".

I feel like this cat. Just want to hide and never wake up. I hate people sometimes. I just see the badness and horribleness, and it's so hard to remind myself there is good.

There has to be good .

Friday, January 23, 2009

On Pondering the Meaning of Life and Ferlinghetti

Currently in the worst depressive episode since April 93. Spent the entire day in bed unable to do anything, cannot eat, just want to sleep and never wake up again.

One of my favorite poems in the universe. I don't want to get out of bed ever again until Keats' Lovers touch. I don't think they ever will, and Keats, and Shelley and Coleridge and Browning are all dust. I've spent my whole life waiting for Godot. What is the meaning of life?
I am waiting
to get some intimations
of immortality
by recollecting my early childhood
and I am waiting
for the green mornings to come again
for some strains of unpremeditated art
to shake my typewriter
and I am waiting to write
the great indelible poem
and I am waiting
for the last long rapture
and I am perpetually waiting
for the fleeting lovers on the Grecian Urn
to catch each other at last
and embrace
and I am awaiting
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Philip Dawdy-Hero Against Zyprexa

Will someone give Philip Dawdy a Pulitzer?

For the last few years, Philip has been writing tirelessly about Zyprexa on his blog Furious Seasons. He was one of the first, if not the first to unlock the Zyprexa documents. Award winning writer David Dobbs is the first (and lets hope not the last) to notice all that loyal readers of Furious Seasons know- that Philip is a tireless reporter and news breaker , working for little or no money and hopefully this will be the start of something good for this talented writer.

The story by David Dobbs is here. Liz Spikol has her own take on this here , and Bob Fiddaman here.

Maybe someone reading these pieces will see what a gem Dawdy is and nominate him for a blogging Pulitzer, which he so deserves.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'm In A Coney Island State of Mind

Very bad migraine from Cymbalta today. One tool I use when I am this sick is to think of a wonderful place and imagine myself there.

One of my most favorite memories from childhood was visiting my Grandmother in Brooklyn and going to Coney Island. Without further ado, I bring you my Coney Island State of Mind.
The pennycandystore beyond the El
is where I first
fell in love
with unreality
Jellybeans glowed in the semi-gloom
of that september afternoon
A cat upon the counter moved among
the licorice sticks
and tootsie rolls
and Oh Boy Gum

Outside the leaves were falling as they died

A wind had blown away the sun

A girl ran in
Her hair was rainy
Her breasts were breathless in the little room

Outside the leaves were falling
and they cried
Too soon! too soon!

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The World Is Going To Stand Still

Just like the world slowed down to a halt as people watched the late Princess Diana's funeral, the world will stop later today and watch Barak Obama be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. He will place his hand on Lincoln's bible, a bible that has never been used since Lincoln himself used it.

Taking the day off to watch history. As should you. Tell your children and your children's children.

Sometimes, life really is wonderful.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Reflecting on Dr. King and the 44th President

Today is Martin Luther King's birthday- a federal holiday in the United States. While to some it's just a day to get a paid holiday from work- to others, like me, it's a time for genuflection. From Martin Luther King- to Barak Obama, how much this country has come in my short lifetime.

I want to share something- a story that transpired when I was four years old. A memory locked in my babyhood/toddlerhood, but still left an impact. My family as visiting my father's brother in Alabama, one summer. My mother was somewhere with me, four, and my sister, two. She had to take a bus to get back to my Uncle's house. She was on line behind a black woman and a small infant in her arms. The bus driver told the woman to get in the back of the bus, and used the "N" word. My mother heard every word the driver said and told him to apologize. He looked at my mother, and said "Lady, this isn't the North, It's Alabama".

My mother turned around, picked up my sister, and walked off the bus. To applause. And we walked back home, and I was hot, tired and cranky. I didn't understand it. It was the late 60s. Years later, same town, I was 12. I understood it then. Because my mother told me one thing that has stayed with me my entire lifetime.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Martin Niemöller

I am honored to call Therese Bouchard a friend. I really am. She has a post today which starts off like this

I have a dream that one day I won't hold my breath every time I tell a person that I suffer from bipolar disorder, that I won't feel shameful in confessing my mental illness.

I have a dream that people won't feel the need to applaud me for my courage on writing and speaking publicly about my disease, because the diagnosis of depression and bipolar disorder would be understood no differently than that of diabetes, arthritis, or dementia.

Please read it. Today, and tomorrow when Barak Obama becomes the next president, and we can honestly say how far as a country we have come. Now to work on rights for the Mentally Ill.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Go Phoenix! =oh Icarus!

My friend Larry posted an interesting piece this past September. Larry wrote,
"Bloggers helping bloggers helping bloggers ... hey, it's one way to keep our sanity and stay alive, folks."

Today has been a bad day for me - for personal reasons i will go into later, but I have been crying buckets and feel..... as Larry said in a letter- "Numb". I didn't think I was numb, I feel empty and hollow, more lonely than I have been in years. Not alive, not dead .Larry nailed it. Numb. Unable to write, unable to feel. Still getting over bronchitis.

Then I saw this on one of my favorite bloggers site, My Medicated Cartoon Life. It cheered me. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the classics animated cartoons, like Bugs Bunny. So much so that I wanted to be like Mel Blanc, and even took voice lessons in LA, so i could do cartoon work. Unfortunately, even with an agent who was on "The Simpsons", the best I could do was an offer for adult cartoons, and a one shot ad for Ralph's Supermarkets.

If you ever heard my voice you would know it is suitable for adult cartoons. Stress the adult.

Bitter Animator had this picture up today, and it's amazing. it touched me and my soul right at a low point. He calls it Icarus, but unlike Icarus, he's not burning when he gets near the sun. He reminds me of a Phoenix. And that is all about today, closing doors, and rising from ashes of dead relationships.
What do you think.?

Thank you Mr. Animator.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Interview:Healthcare for the masses, or 1984 revisited

This past week I was approached by the magnificent blogger, Merelyme to provide her with a quote for a piece on the new Obama health care plan she is writing for Health Central.

I am happy to oblige, Merelyme, was the first person to add me to her blog roll when I started. and I have grown to be quite fond of her and her baby kitten Mew Mew. I also knew, that even though I do not discuss politics with people in real life or on line, my views on this subject would be, um, well, controversial and perhaps upsetting. If you haven't figured out where I stand, look at the picture.

Anyway, Merelyme has written a great piece about digiitalized health records, and it's a definite must read, And it's fine if you don't agree with me. I think the only one who will was named Eric Blair. Just keep reading me! John D of A Storied Mind is also quoted. He's high quality writing too.

And yes, to answer a question, I really do have flat feet.

Friday, January 16, 2009

On Bronchitis and women's private parts

Lately I feel like this cat. Getting it in the face by life. And this cold from hell which has morphed into bronchitis, 102 degree temp and sore throat. Today I mailed a package to a friend, went to the Stop and Shop started buying dinner, cat litter- TP- and I fainted. Right in front of the tissues and TP. Oh the ignominy!

Home, very shakey, fluey, miserable, I was told to stay in bed and just sleep. So I will be off this thing.

In the mean time, check out Bob Fiddaman's site= he has a piece up on Glaxo Smith Kline (where's French?) ad for Lactacyd Femina. It appears to be KY Gel in the United States.

The ad is weird, weird, weird, but worth looking at. The Brits have one of the best words in the universe that you hardly ever hear across the pond- "Gobsmacked". That is how I feel about this. Like I said, take a peek.

And if you like me, I am now on Facebook. If you know my name, you can find me easy, and if you don't email me at

I am now off for the day, to try to feel better. Take care everyone.

Andrew Wyeth- July 12, 1917–January 16, 2009

Andrew Wyeth, American Artist, died in his sleep today. He was 91.

Wyeth lived a good part of his life in Chadds Ford, a Philadelphia suburb. He is probably best known to many who took Art History as the man who drew "Christina's World". It was his paintings of his neighbor Helga that brought him fame in 86 and according to the New York Times obituary "
A Wyeth retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2006 drew more than 175,000 visitors in 15.5 weeks, the highest-ever attendance at the museum for a living artist. The Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, a converted 19th-century grist mill, includes hundreds of works by three generations of Wyeths"

Thank you Mr. Wyeth for the beautiful pictures.

My favorite Wyeth painting.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Well, between Gianna Kali and Therese Bouchard, I have joined Facebook this evening. I am still learning but if you want to be my friend PM me at

Midnight Musings- Flu and Eli Lilly

I went to sleep about 7 PM feeling miserable, woke up at 10:30, and shaking. Yep, temperature is back up to 102 and my winter flu is back with a vengeance.

I went on the couch, turned on the TV and the first thing I saw was this..."Real World Brooklyn". So.... My mom's generation the big question was- Does A Tree Grow In Brooklyn? Is mine going to be- Did Real World really have to go to Brooklyn? I don't know, but maybe this is a sign the Dodgers will come back to Brooklyn? I don't know. I am still mourning the loss of Coney Island. I am like Ferlingetti- I have a Coney Island of the Mind.

Meanwhile I would like to point out that Eli Lilly is on the verge of settling Zyprexa claims for a whopping 1.4 billion. This is being reported by Seattle journalist Philip Dawdy on his website Furious Seasons. For those not familiar with Dawdy, his site played a significant award role in the Zyprexa scandal, and documents on this can be found here.

I believe Philip and I both belong to the same Journalist society- I am writing them tomorrow to tell them about his tireless reporting on this issue.

Now that Zyprexa might have closure, I want to go after Haldol..... this drug is personal vendetta for me.

That's all I got for now. I want to go back to sleep and get rid of this cold. And wish I had my mom's chicken soup.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Moment Of Truth-

-For 3 wonderful people I know who are struggling One day at a Time- and one friend in another continent who's sobriety inspires me.

The room was dimly lit, smelling of stale cigarette smoke and burnt coffee. Twenty-some people were there, sitting on folding chairs, or the overstuffed navy blue couch. Almost everyone was drinking black coffee from Styrofoam cups, with their legs crossed, listening intently to the speaker. During the talk, a couple of people went to the coffee maker for refills, or grabbed stale powered donuts, so hard they had to be dipped in the coffee to be rendered edible.

I was sitting on the floor, legs crossed, Indian style. The shag carpeting felt comfortable under my bottom, and was enjoying listening to the speaker. When he was finished, everyone clapped and someone else started talking. After several more speakers, it was my turn. I cleared my throat and looked nervously around the room. The words were coming out faster than I could think. "Hi, my name is Susan, and I am an alcoholic."

I am an alcoholic. I haven't had a drink since September 26, 1996. My last drink, ice tea and grain alcohol was the day before. This is something that I never thought about until I was reading a book on bipolar where the author stated that 60 percent of all people with bipolar have had a problem with substance dependency. My drinking was different. I wasn't drinking to control my moods, I was drinking because I was hell bent on destroying myself. They say that alcohol is a depressant, but I can tell you when I drank, it was for the initial buzz of euphoria and sense of well being. I loved the way it made my insides melt. What I didn't like was the sad feeling that always came out after the first initial numbness.

Every alcoholic has a story. I had my first drink in college, the first weekend away from home. My roommate and I crashed a frat party. This was the fall of 1980 and I had just turned 18 that weekend. Animal House was out the previous year, and every frat on campus was having a toga party. We went to one of the frats, thinking we were all grown up. I recall when I got there, I didn't want a beer. Someone handed me a cup of purple Kool Aid, and I found a couch inside and sat down and drank. Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon", was on the stereo, and I just recall that the album never sounded so good.

Guys kept refilling my glass, asking me "You're a freshman?". Finally the inevitable happened, my bladder was full. I tried to make it upstairs to the bathroom, but there was an incredible line. Instead my roommate found me and we left the party, walking back to our dorm cross campus. I recall I could barely walk, and neither could she. And I couldn't stop thinking when I fell on the ground "The lunatic is on the grass".

When we got back to the dorm, I signed in, and it became clear to my
RA that I was drunk, very drunk. I couldn't understand that, I had no beer, just grape Kool Aide. Roommate and I somehow collapsed into bed, and I recall the bed spinning. Then I got sick. Exorcist sick. I ended up in the infirmary. The next day the nurse told me I was drinking grape Kool Aide with grain alcohol in it. All I knew is I felt sick, hung over and ashamed. I vowed never to drink again.

And I really didn't. Oh yes, I might have had a beer in the Rathskeller with my friends between classes but one was always my limit. Somehow, I must have sensed my birth family had a long line of alcoholics and I knew not to drink.

Fast forward to 1996. I had come back from California a year before, broke. I had the misfortune of letting a friend's sister stay with me when her apartment was being fixed from the Northridge Quake. No one told me she had a coke habit, and I had never met anyone who did drugs before. In the two months that she lived with me, she totalled my car, then totalled the rental car. She figured out my ATM number, went into my checking and savings accounts and wiped them both dry, stole my furniture, and my jewelry and pawned it. I lost almost 40,000 that went up her nose before I realized what she had done and and at that point called the police and they involuntarily put her in rehab. And with no money left, no furniture, I had no choice but to move back home with mom and dad.

It wasn't a good situation. I found a job at a bookstore and moved out into an apartment. It wasn't a nice apartment, it was in the states capital, but it was mine and it was better than nothing. I remember my upstairs neighbor was a prostitute and my doorbell would ring at weird hours by drunken Johns at the wrong door.

The downstairs neighbor sold pot, but the police stayed away because he never sold to minors. Another neighbor was constantly getting into trouble for beating his wife.

I didn't like working in that bookstore. I love books, and own close to a thousand in my own personal library. But this was a mega bookstore. I had worked in a mom and pop one ten years earlier for a few years, which I loved. But this was different, there was less emphasis on the customer and more on just selling books. They guy I was seeing was really disliked by my parents, and much to my chagrin, my father told him he would give him money to stop dating me. Of course, he took it.

I am sure this was done in my best interests, but I felt like I was a failure. One day a friend from the bookstore came over with a bottle of red wine as a housewarming gift. We drank the bottle and the next morning when I woke up, I wanted more. I went to work and on the way home, stopped at a licquor store and bought a bottle of the same vintage, and drank that in the evening. I did this every night for a week. And I discovered something. By the end of the week,I wasn't getting buzzed on the wine. Instead I was drinking vodka, pouring it in the wine to get drunk faster. I knew it was wrong, but I didn't care. I figured I didn't have the courage to kill myself outright, so I might as well drink myself to death. Besides, some of the best writers were alcoholics, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald and Steinbeck. A genius that no one understood. My muse was telling me it was romantic to be drunk like them.

The only problem was what I was writing at this time was absolute crap. Alcohol might have made Faulkner or Hemingway more creative, but it was having the opposite affect on me. But I loved the warm feeling I would get when I drank, how the walls around me dissolved, melted and I became one with the universe.

In two short months I was a full blown alcoholic. I was drinking very every night, first pouring vodka in my wine coolers to get drunk, and when that didn't work anymore I graduated to wine and vodka. When that no longer worked I was pouring grain alcohol in my wine to get buzzed faster.

That would make me wake up in the morning with the shakes, and I needed an eye-opener. So I would have a glass of wine by itself. I didn't care, I figured I would be dead in six months. I figured I had nothing to live for, after all, I was persona non grata in my family. I had no boyfriend, I mean what kind of boyfriend would choose money over me? My self esteem was out the window, and I felt like shit. The alcohol bloated me up by thirty pounds and I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life.But I couldn't stop, every night I would take a bottle of Stoli I left in the fridge, pour a huge drink and watch British comedies on VHS tape. I knew I shouldn't be doing it. At the time I had an idea I was bipolar, but wouldn't acknowledge it. I had been diagnosed as bipolar 10 years earlier when I had my first hospitalization when I crashed and burned at the end of Grad school and would up first in the hospital for 2 days from the suicide attempt, and then a month in the other hospital.

All I knew now that my moods were going from manic- days without sleeping, to suicidal despair where I would try to top myself off with a drink and Asprin. One time I fell asleep , tripped over a bottle, broke it and wound up with glass embedded in my kneecap. Cute. Blood all over the carpet. I didn't care, I laughed when I saw the blood red streaks melt into the off white color. For months I had glass embedded in my skin.

And one day came when I woke up covered in vomit from head to toe, shaking so badly the bed was actually moving. I knew I had to stop. After all, didn't Janis Joplin die when she vomited in her sleep? Maybe something woke up that day inside of me and I knew I needed help. I had to stop. Something primal in my brain told me the next time this happened I would be dead like Janis. And suddenly, I didn't want to die anymore.

I cleaned myself up, did the laundry. I felt awful. I was shaking,m but poured the rest of the booze down the drain. And went to my first AA meeting that day.

I realized that was what stopped me. I didn't want to die. I got sober, which was one of the hardest things I ever did. But I wanted to live. I didn't want to be a drunken writer. All of a sudden Hemingway and Fitzgerald as the troubled dipsomaniacs with the tortured souls wasn't appealing. Raymond Carver got dry. I could do it too. i didn't stay with AA but did it myself, substituting a Snapple for every time I wanted a drink.

So 60 percent of people with bipolar have a lifetime substance dependency problem. Maybe in my case it was just from a feeling of pain of being different, feeling different from everyone else, feeling like a failure because I felt like I was the only living person on the planet. I was in so much emotional pain back then I didn't know how to cope. I've learned sincethen to make closure with a lot of the issues I had back then. I have also learned that yes, I am bipolar. I have grown to accept it, and by accepting it work on my recovery. The only way I could get better, to start healing was to accept it. Whether it's alcohol or bipolar. It's something I still have issues with, dealing with, understanding and accepting. Even now. There are days where I wish I was normal and didn't have to take any meds, thinking there is nothing wrong with me. And I feel great until I go manic or depressed. Now I know I have to take my meds daily. Now I know my birth family comes from a long line of Irish alcoholics, my genes didn't escape that. I know if I have one drink, I die. Simple as that. I don't want to die, not now. I still have a lot more living to do.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


From one of my most favorite authors.

I dressed and went for a walk--determined not to return until I took in what nature had to offer.

-Raymond Carver

Monday, January 12, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different

Just for fun. Have you ever seen so many books and pandas?

(Still running 102 and feeling miserable).

Very Very Sick

Well I got my annual Winter Cold.

I am miserable. Got 102 degree temp, sore throat, cannot swallow. My nose is running and congested at the same time and I lost my voice.

Will be back tomorrow.

take care everyone.

Meanwhile- everyone drop off by Liz's blog and congratulate her on winning a Golden Globe yesterday.

Oh wait- you mean Liz and Tina Fey are two different people?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Opinions, please

So- should the next piece posted here be about-

1. Meds
2. BP Illness
3. Depression
4, Cats and dogs



it's coming


Let me know, and it will be written after the Eagles/Giants game. Or won't be. Depending who wins, Or looses.

I guess another question is - is it Go Giants, or Fly Eagles Fly?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Truly Amazing

I have had more hits in the last three days then I have in the history of this blog since I started it in October 07.

There can be only one reason- I have had three shout outs from three wonderful bloggers this week, Philip Dawdy, Liz Spikol, and Therese Bouchard. 

Since I only know one of them in real life-  I want them to know, even though I cannot buy them a beer in real life- these buds are for them. Pretend they are ice cold brewskis. Sit back and enjoy. And thank you. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

More Cowbell

Seriously, if you were walking through hell, and had to keep going, wouldn't you want a little more cowbell to help you on your way?

I can't get these darn You Tube videos to load for some reason, but. here they are.

More Cowbell-Blue Oyster Cult- original Saturday Night Live version starring Will Farrell.

Burning For You- Original VH1 video back when VH1 played videos and not reality dating shows with Flavor Flav and Bret Michaels.

And lastly, Joan Crawford 1981 VH1 version- and I am freaking out. I cannot believe most of the girls in my lame High School wore saddle shoes back in 1980, me included!

I got some serious rockin' to do, and cowbells to hit.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Best Psychiatrist Ever?

Here is one Psychiatrist I wouldn't mind seeing....And if catnip is discussed in the DSM V, we know who was responsible.

Haldol Nightmare

I wrote this over the weekend for Gianna Kali, in her new forum for those having a problem with their meds.

It's still a work in progress, but this is my nightmare on Haldol. I have not altered anything or changed anything, and I hope it might give someone courage who are going through the same thing with this nightmare drug for me.

it's hard for me to write about since my Haldol experience happened in April 08 and took to July to recover. It's still raw.

Basically what transpired was one night I woke up to use the toilet, fell down on the floor and couldn't get up. Spent the night on the floor trying to get up on my feet, to get to the bathroom and couldn't move my arms or my legs. My parents found me a few hours later, By this time I I couldn't even move my muscles to urinate, but I could feel my bladder was full and it hurt like heck. I wanted to cry and couldn't shut my eyes. I wanted to talk and all I could do is grunt because I couldn't move my mouth.

My parents took me to the emergency room where i spent a week in the hospital - being on IV's for nourishment, and a catheter for the other thing. Had CAT scans, MRI"s x-rays, you name it they took it. I still couldn't move. My folks had both a Rabbi and Priest come in to give me last rites after I flatlined. After a week, they sent me to the Rehab facility where I had to learn to walk again and try to get control of every muscle in my body. Was there for 3 weeks. I couldn't even lie down, they brought me in on a wheel chair initially and it took 4 days for my muscles to relax to let me lie down. I had to sleep sitting up. It was a nightmare, I was in such pain and the people who had POA wouldn't let me take something like Perkoset for the pain or Oxy, because they felt all I needed was Tylenol, despite the fact the first hospital was adding that to my IV. I understand my screams could be heard all the way down the hall.

I found out back in November from a very respected Psychiatrist here- that when he did his internship at the same hospital where "Girl Interrupted" was done, he saw several cases like this from Haldol- you loose control of every muscle in your body.

I am fine now.But this is the drug from hell, it should have been pushed off the market years ago when the 1st case like this happened. No excuse.

I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.

For more on Gianna's Beyond Meds Social Network, please go here.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Depakote apparently stopped working for Jett Travolta

TMZ is reporting today that Jett Travolta, John Travolta's son, was on Depakote when he died. Depakote is a drug for bipolar and also use for epilepsy and seizures. If the article is to believed (which I do believe it) Jett was also experiencing drug poop-out.

We're now told the grand mal seizures Jett suffered were "frequent and extremely serious." Travolta's lawyers, Michael Ossi and Michael McDermott, tell us "each seizure was like a death," with Jett losing consciousness and convulsing.

There have been reports Travolta refused to give his son anti-seizure meds because of Scientology but those stories are apparently erroneous- but the story is still developing.

Jett had been having seizures on an average of every four days, until he started taking Depakote. Ossi and McDermott say the drug initially worked, reducing the frequency to approximately once every three weeks.

Jett took Depakote for "several years," but it eventually lost its effectiveness, according to Ossi and McDermott. They say the Travoltas were concerned about possible physical damage. And, Jett went back to having around one seizure a week. So John Travolta and Kelly Preston, after consulting neurosurgeons, stopped administering the drug. No one is suggesting withdrawal of the medicine in any way caused the fatal episode.

My sympathies for Mr. Travolta and Ms. Preston.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Have truer words ever been spoken?

The loneliness and sad ache is overwhelming tonight. i don't feel alive, yet again, I feel like I don't belong to my body, mind or soul. Urge to put my hand through the mirror to see if I can get into a parallel universe.

Then I found this quote. Have truer words ever been spoken?
They put the thing down your throat so you don't swallow your tongue, and they put electrodes on your head. That's what was recommended in Rockland County to discourage homosexual feelings. The effect is that you lose your memory and become a vegetable. You can't read a book because you get to page seventeen and have to go right back to page one again-Lou Reed

Brilliant! And yes, this is what they do to you when you get it. It's been 6 years, six long years and I still cannot read!

I have tried for the last ten minutes to post this You Tube video. It's not working. Heroin by Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. The first song by Lou Reed I ever heard. One of the best guitars along with vintage Clapton and Duane Allman.

Sometimes I feel like I can't even sing-

"Sometimes I feel like I can't even sing,
I'm very scared for this world,
Very scared for me".

Yep, my crush on Michael Stipe has not been for naught.

Watching CNN today and yep, he nailed it over a decade ago.

"It's the end of the world as we know it....
And I feel fine".

What makes people start wars? Dunno. If it was up to me, I would have all the women in the world get together, read the "Lysistrata" and use it. It;s like this old song by Simon and Garfunkel from their very old album, "Wednesday Morning, 3 AM"

"Last night I had the strangest dream
I ever dreamed before,
I dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war".

What evil does lurk in the heart of men? The Shadow doesn't know anymore. He died today.

I don't know why I write til; my fingers bleed. I don't know why I write for hours on end over and over and over and =

I am going back to bed with my cat where it's safe and warm. I am taking my teddy bear into bed with me. Some days I feel like December 2012 cannot happen soon enough. And Soylent Green really is people.

****This is my brain rambling after watching CNN for 3 hours today. I know I will feel different tomorrow.*******

ETA: I don't want people to think I lean too much to either Right or Left. This is not the time and place nor will I discuss my personal politics here. What I am upset with is the children. i don't want to see little coffins being put out in the street. Two years ago I was fortunate to spend a week in Whitechapel, London, doing extensive research on a book that takes place in 1888, Whitechapel. What got me was as I was trying to be as historically accurate as possible, some of the places were destroyed during WW II. After a hard day of research, I would go to various pubs in that vicinity, nursing a Coke or a coffee, and listen to the stories of men and women and what they did during the bombing as children. That is what is upsetting me. I hope you understand. I'm spent.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A blogging respite for a day or two

My cat is not white, but you get the idea. She has turned into a demanding little fur ball and will not let me access my computer. I just put her in the bathroom for a few minutes to put this up......she wants lots of play, cuddles, and Pounces. Such is a cat's life. I am happy to do it for a purr in return, or a snuggle when I am on the couch reading.

Like Charles Dickens cat Williamina, who would blow out the candle on Dickens desk as he wrote, so he would put his quill down and play with her- I think this is the way my cat is telling me to take a day or two off the computer and just enjoy life with her.

So I will.

In the meantime, I want to pass on two wonderful stories to my readers. The first story is about the Polar Bear Club in NYC. No, not those beautiful white critters like Knut. These are the men and women who go into the frigid waters off Coney Island every New Years Eve. I did it once and it was fabulous. I hope to do it again.

The other one comes from Anthony, the blogger of "My Sick Mind". It is from the Philadelphia Inquirer, and in the spirit of the paper who gave you "Marley and Me" in serial form, it is about a cat and her owner. It's good. It reminds us, like Marley, to treasure time with our animals we share our life with, because we will most likely out live them.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Susan-An Introduction

I have a lot of new readers coming in so I thought I would post an old article I wrote back in 02 explaining who I am= Enjoy.

I could feel my blue eyes opening, and the light was harsh. I shielded them with my palm, trying to wake. I gradually accustomed myself, and noticed, this was a twin size bed I was in, not my normal full size. My beloved cat was not nestling besides me, nor did I have the teddy that served as a sentinel since I was four. I thought for a moment, I was back in time, back in Graduate School, where life was good, and I shared a house in my state’s capital with four other young women. But as I tried to move, I noticed I couldn’t move. There was an IV attached to my arm, and one of those heart monitors like you would see on ER. And I was strapped down to the bed. It was the present, 1994, and I had been out of school for seven years. I could hear the doctors and nurses running by me, ignoring me. I had no idea where I was, I figured it was in the emergency room of Princeton Hospital. I asked the nurse what day it was as she ran by me. It was a Sunday morning, at four or five in the morning, and I wondered what the heck had I done again, since I took all those pills on Friday night? and why in Heaven’s name, couldn’t I succeed in killing myself?

I am a manic-depressive. I was one of those people, first misdiagnosed in my early twenties as depressive, then a month later diagnosed as bipolar. But this hospitalization in my early thirties, would evaluate me as bipolar, with a difference, I was an ultra rapid cycler with schizoaffective features.

This was not my first suicide attempt. This was one of many, starting with all the sturm und drang of adolescence. This would be my second to last serious attempt. I cannot begin to count all the times I have wanted to "shuffle off this mortal coil", as Hamlet said. I have tried pills, more times waking up to be Exorcist sick. I tried to use a hose to my car’s exhaust, not realizing I had a catalytic converter, which went on before I could fall asleep. I have thought of throwing myself off the Empire State Building, but I am deathly afraid of heights and have vertigo. And I have tried to slit my wrists, but could not get the razor blade out of that pink plastic Gillette razor. (Curse you Gillette!)

And I have been blessed with the mania, suffering for three years straight without crashing to anything other than mild depression. I was gifted then, doing two masters degrees and holding down three part time jobs. I had poems professionally published. Looking back they were nothing but masterful Sylvia Plath imitations. I was the belle of the English department, their golden girl about to go on for a PhD. And I was correct for the longest time. And then, just like the all time perfect day, it ended. It had to. A person cannot be manic for three years without illegal drugs, one has to crash eventually.

And I crashed. And what I learned was the same lesson every other manic-depressive or bipolar has learned. There is a hard side with genius. It is almost like what the ancient Greeks believed that the Gods give us unique things and talent with a huge price attached. And one of the prices that have affected every sufferer of this disease is both the mercurial aspect and the melancholy. Yes some of the greatest pieces of literature, art, music, and philosophy have been done by people who have suffered from this. And on the other hand, how many of us have looked at our wrists and wished you could put a razor blade or a box cutter on the vein, and allow your pain and heartache to ebb out, along with your life? And how many of us have had medication or alcohol to try to calm down the beasts in our head, leaving us comfortably numb?

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Susan I am a manic depressive, living on the East Coast of the US. I when I wrote this piece , I had full-time job, and make a good living. I am in my late thirties, never married. No children by choice, I can’t see myself passing on this illness to a child of mine. Something that I know I am most fortunate to do, considering my hospitalizations, and treatments, This breaks my heart because my biggest wish in life is to be a wife and mother. The only thing worse than my manic depression is my stubbornness, which I am convinced I can show everyone who thinks I should be institutionalized for the rest of my life, that I can be a productive citizen.

As I write this I just got out of a four-day depression. That was four days of my life where getting out of bed was painful, so I didn’t except to use the toilet and feed my cat. It was too painful to get dressed. I looked at the pile of laundry and its too difficult to do that. It’s been too difficult to do anything, even thinking. Instead I sit in bed, hyper sleeping and listing to talk radio as white noise. And think about how I wish I had an exacto knife so I could slit my wrists and end it. And not having the energy to do it. And cursing myself now, because tomorrow I have to go to work. I have one clean outfit left, because I was too depressed to get out of bed, and did not go to the laundromat. and right now, I am so sad I don’t want to be around anyone, I want to be a hermit. I don’t want to feel anything , no emotions, nothing. Instead I have to put on a smiley face and make believe that all is well, when I feel it isn’t. And I sit here now, typing and wishing I could go into manic phrase, because I need it. I want it. And the guilt that I have spent four days of my life, which I can never get back, thanks to this horrible curse or blessing in my genes, depending on your viewpoint. To me it is neither a curse or a blessing. It's my entire life. And I wish, yes I wish I was normal.

Perhaps that is why I don’t take medication. I tried them all, they made me sick. And frankly, there is something about taking those little pills that numbs your creativity. You lose that perceived edge. You want to be normal, the lithium makes your skin crawl and you can’t keep food down. I have spent days in a fetal position on the bathroom floor waiting for lithium to get into my bloodstream. Depakote makes you fat. And Depakote takes away the highs and the lows. And without the highs and the lows you would be human. Just human. Not invincible. Just a regular guy. I would love to be a regular guy. But I find when the Depakote normalizes into my bloodstream, I cannot think. I become like a stroke victim - unable to think clearly. I forget things. I cannot dream. I have no creativity. And I cannot function. I do not like living like a puppet or a small child with people telling me what to do and what not to do. And that is how I get on meds.

So to the chagrin of my shrink, I am med free. I have a suicide number here when it gets bad. I know to call 911 and tell them to take me to the hospital. My shrink thinks I am a walking time bomb, but in fact I may just be one a very small minority who cannot take meds. I know there are some. And I look at other people who can take them and live full lives. Unfortunately, I find these people few and far between.(Authors note: After I wrote this piece in 2002 I went back to meds in 2003.At present I am trying to wean down to the lowest dose possible).

I have just found out about my birth family. I have always known I have been adopted, but I never saw the medical records. And now I have. I learned for the first time my maternal grandmother suffered from this illness. A great great grandmother was institutionalized and lobotomized because of this. A great grandfather killed himself. I come from a long line of alcoholics, and several of my uncles as well as 2 grandparents suffered from this. Alcohol and manic depression go hand in hand. If you want proof, look at John Berryman. If he didn’t kill himself, his liver would have given out.

But the thoughts race. I do not like that. The doctor prescribed Ritalin. I felt a huge surge of energy and rode my bike for 20 some miles before I stopped. I felt sick. I went to a police station and they called my folks to pick me up. And called my shrink who said I was having a toxic reaction to Ritalin, very rare. So when the thoughts race, I feel as if I am possessed.

Suicide scares me. I know how easy it would be to take a razor and watch my life ebb out. I think about it constantly. I know if I screw up, I will wind up in the hospital. I do not want to wind up there again. So I have made a pact with myself, not to do it unless it gets so bad because if I miscalculate- the consequences is worse than death. The guy who wrote "Suicide is Painless", the theme song from MASH, had it wrong. It is painful.

I once had my stomach pumped. That was hell. No one said it hurts. On TV an overdose is treated as something glamorous. It does not hurt. Bullsheetrock. It hurts. Or if they cannot pump your stomach, they give you ipac- and you vomit for hours. Eventually you have nothing left in your system and you are still vomiting. For days afterwards with an OD you cannot eat. So they have you on an IV drip. And you cannot sleep because every 15 minutes a nurse comes by and pokes you and checks your eyes to make sure you are still with us. You have a heart monitor on. And the worst thing is, the doctors ignore you. They think you are selfish for doing what you did. You are taking up their valuable time when they can be helping someone else. And I cannot say I blame them. I feel ashamed and unclean by my stigma, by my illness. I know it's an imbalance on the brain, but I did not ask for it.

I wish I was normal. I look at friends and colleagues at work. They have spouses and children, and I have no one. I am going to grow old by myself. I am scared of that. That in itself is enough to make me wish to take my life.

But I know my moods will be hard for someone to live with. I know if I was a man, it would be easier for someone to put up with me, but in this society, men do not want to be caregivers. A man is not going to understand why I can write for 36 hours straight, breaking only to refill the glass of water by my right hand or to use the toilet. A man is not going to understand the urge I get at four in the morning to clean. Or worse, bake, or ride my bike. And someone, anyone will not understand the depression, the mind numbing, aching when its too painful to get out of the bed, to get dressed or talk. All you can do is cry. Fortunately the depression does not happen often, but when it does, its hard. Who wants to be around someone like that?
I don’t even know if I would want to be around me when this happens.

So here I am. A study in conflicts. On one hand, I hold down a professional, responsible job. I know if the company I worked for found out about this aliment, I could be sacked. I am a published author on the side. And on the other hand, right now I am acutely suicidal. I know I will not act on it , or I tell myself this. This aliment has caused me to be the black sheep of the family, I am not invited to any family events , weddings, funerals, etc because I was hospitalized. I was cut out of the family will on my second suicide attempt. This is all ignorance. I do not like people who are ignorant. What I have is no different than being a juvenile diabetic. It was something I was born with. I cannot change it.

All I can hope is there will be a med that I can use, so I can live a tolerant life. I want to be like everyone else.

And I want whoever should read this to know, you are not alone.

(Since I wrote this piece I lost my job, and have been ill from meds- as they try to find the right cocktail. I hope it will happen soon and I can get back to work).

For Dave, Whenever I May Find Him.

To my best friend in the entire universe, even though our paths will never cross again. I love you always and forever until I am simply dust and stuff of stars. Happy New Year mon cher ami.

You were the first person who believed in me and loved me.
Does the moon still shine on the Moors?
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