Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rerun:Why I Hate New Year's Eve

This piece was written several years ago....This does not indicate my state of mind at the moment, but is rather a glimpse of why I hate New Years Eve, especially if you are alone for it. 

New Years is a bad night for me. Part of me thinks of the old Barry Manilow song, "It's just another New Year's Eve/It's just a night like all the rest..."

Part of me is feeling sad. Depressed. Wanting to put a gun to my head and pull the trigger. I realized yesterday when I w as eating Chinese in the Village with a friend of mine, that I was conceived on New Years Eve by a 12 year old girl who had too much to drink. Could my earliest memory of consciousness be that of my conception between a drunk sperm and a drunk egg?

After all, drunken conception is nothing new, it has been happening as long as primal man slithered out of the the primal ooze that was the river Charybdis and became the genus Homo. John Lennon once made a comment about half the people in the world being conceived by too much alcohol on a Saturday night. I shouldn't be teasing these Saturday night specials, after all it made my father's side of the family multi multi millionaires. It is like the Bible says "the sins of the parents are passed down to their children?"

I am lonely. I feel lonely. Thinking about conception has made me horny. But I don't want to get laid. I don't know what I want. I have an urge to fly; I want to have one of those flying dreams I use to have when I was a child, but don't anymore. But I do not know where I would fly to. There is no where I want to go other than my bed. I want to sleep. I never want to wake up again. This horrible thing is depression, and it has me in it's sharp talons, not letting me go. I am screaming, and no one is listening. No one can hear my soul in pain.

I had my last drink on September 26, 1996. I can still recall it, sometimes I can still taste it. September 25, I had a bottle of red wine, adding grain (Everclear) to it so I could get buzzed faster. I passed out. I woke up the next day, no cottonmouth, but thirsty. I went to an AA meeting where being so thirsty, I couldn't even hold my glass of water. Finally got some down, got drunk again, and went into the DT's. I have not had a drink since then. Every time I get an urge, I recall that drink, the DT's; being strapped down to a bed and shaking so badly that the bed was moving, and the feeling passes. At the time I was drinking, I was hell bent on destroying myself. I was in pain, felt my life had not meaning, and it was easier to stay drunk than to actually live.

Now I have tonight.

I want to drink tonight. I want to take a bottle of vodka and take a long hot bath in my pajamas. Drink the bottle in the bath tub. And when the bottle is empty, crash it against the bathtub, shattering it. Taking the shards and slitting my wrists, my ankles, my throat. How long would it take to see the blood ebb out before going to sleep? I just want the pain to stop. I want the loneliness to stop. I feel all alone. I feel empty. I feel worthless. I feel like I should have been born dead. I don't know why I was conceived in the first place.

I'm hollow. I don't even feel alive anymore. I feel like a Basilisk. Dead. Empty.

I am not afraid of dying. That is easy. It is living that is hard, and living , so much of it sucks. I feel the loneliness the despair and it chokes me. I do not know who to ask for help. Maybe I don't want it. All I know when I feel like this, I want to curl up and never wake again.

Please God, grant me that one wish. Please. Because I am afraid of tomorrow. I feel as if I have been lied to, it does not get better. All the hard work I have done, that I am doing, back breaking work when I hit bottom to be where I am now, was it worth it? I do not mind being alone. I cannot handle lonely anymore. I feel so lonely I really could die. I am so lonely I might as well be dead.

All that hard work, and just now, when I feel the most vunerable, the most wounded, the one time I need someone I am alone. Like Tennyson's Percival, if I was to see the Holy Grail, I would know that this quest is not for me. Like Percival, the purest of Arthur's knights, , but still not pure enough to touch the Grail. I am not a knight in shining armor. The only dragons I have slain are of my own making.

And I just can't see this fairy tale ending happily. A long time ago I use to do tarot readings. They said I was psychic. I can often see how people will die in this lifetime. I have seen my own death, and know it will be by my own hand. And this prophesy I want to change. I just want not to be alone right now. I just want someone to hold me until this feeling passes. I s that asking so much? But as always, I am alone. YOu come into this world alone , you die alone, but I never thought this middle part called life would find me alone as well.

(Original written in 2001, re written in December 2008, and December 2009).(Photo Times Square 2009)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Teenage Nuts Is The New Cool

I didn't write this, instead it's from Mind Freedom Virginia's blog, Lunatic Fringe.  What strikes me as amazing, is why would anyone want to be be Bipolar? Because the media romanticizes it.  Because this famous celebrity has it. If you want to see the unromantic, un glamorous side of bipolar, check out those who have it on my blogroll. It's not romantic, it's not glamorous, it destroys lives, destroys our health and can cripple our relationships with our friends and families.

There are also some pretty scary things in it about teenage behaviors, such as self harm and bulimia, which should be addressed because that can lead to a lifetime of pain and hurt.

A study of 1,192 youths in the UK aged 12-17 was conducted by www.mentaline.com to find out about their opinions on mental health matters. Just over 1 in 10 young people, or 11%, in the UK think of “mental illness” as trendy according to this study. A press release in PRLog tells it all, 1 in 10 teens think mental illness is ‘fashionable’.
Regarding these youngsters who thought “mental illness” the thing:
34 % lied about having a “mental illness” in the past
32 % stated they knew somebody with a “real” mental health issue
49 % thought “mental illness” made you unique
16 % said celebrity sufferers gave “mental illness” it’s chic appeal
25 % just thought “mental illness” was cool
07 % thought they had a “mental illness”
61 % thought mental health should be taken very seriously

The 34% that admitted to pretending to have some kind of mental health problem in the past were asked to specify what the issue was. The top five problems were as follows:
1. Eating disorders – 22%
2. Self-harming – 17%
3. Addiction – 13%
4. Depression – 12%
5. Bipolar Disorder– 9%
And the winner is…Eating disorders by a length.
I cannot help but wonder if this is the way teens think in the UK, can the US be far behind? 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas, Belated Festivus

I still believe in Santa. Yes, it's true. If I was home there would be home made warm home-made chocolate chip cookies for him tonight and carrots for the reindeer.

In the spirit of the holiday, (as well as a belated Festivus), nothing beats tracking Santa on Norad. I've been doing this since 2005. It's a lot of fun, and a wonderful way to see all the places in the world I would someday like to visit.

On behalf of myself and Miss Holly the cat, I want to wish everyone a very happy holiday, and best wishes for a wonderful New Year.

Eta: I shouldn't do this, but I  just found this great video from Cheezeburger about a cat and a tree. I'm adding it for any other cat lovers who might need a cute fix, or anyone who is stressed out today and needs a cute fix.

Our cat, our Xmas tree, & time-lapse from Griffin Hammond on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Trying to stay upbeat

One of the things I am noticing after my near death experience is how precious life is. I will and hope I never forget the look on my mother's face when the doctor told her I was going to make it. I was practically unconscious at the time, but her smile is ingrained in my head.

I recall how wonderful everything was. The smells, the people, being able to look out the window and see rain, and trees  with practically bare branches, and just being grateful for every breath I took. It didn't matter that I felt my life was in the toilet and I was going nowhere with no dreams, it was just glad to be alive.

AA calls it "An attitude of gratitude". I felt the same way when I was newly sober, how wonderful life is when you aren't drinking. It went away after a few months, and once again, I became cynical, and curmudgeonly, isolating myself away from people and once again building walls around myself that no one could penetrate so I couldn't be hurt.

In the last twelve hours or so I've lost that attitude again. There is a part of me that wishes I had died. Maybe I'm on the pity pot. Maybe I just miss the cat and need a cute fix. But I just don't see the future again. If anything I feel like Job, why have I been forgotten, how much physical pain can I take before I break? Why did my kidneys fail and why am I having such problems with my bladder and my female bits now?

There are people worse off than me. I know this. I just have to watch the evening news to see stories of children who just lost lost a parent, people loosing their houses, parents who lost a child. Soldiers coming back from wars missing legs from bombs. As much as I detest physical therapy, I keep thinking, "Susan, you have two legs, you will be able to walk without a walker soon".

In other words, in the immortal words of Monty Python "Always look on the bright side of life".

Ha! My parents bring in medical bills. I owe money to doctors, to hospital. I'm not working. Is my writing good enough to sell? I'm rusty. Does anyone want to hire a mental health blogger? There are so many of us on the blogosphere. Should I finish my novel, and try to publish it to the big guys or go independent? Or do I even want to bother with it? At one time my play was considered for an Off Off Broadway venue. Should I try to peddle it again?
Will the economy improve so I can make a living again from my pen?

And the worst feeling of all, can a 40 something compete with all the 20 somethings out there? When I was in my 20s my writing was top notch, even if I look at a lot of it now and think of it as "gifted juvenilia". Perhaps it was a bad thing that I got awards and heavily published before I was 23. I thought it was easy, now I realize it was because of professors and networking.

I am lost. I keep dreaming the same dream, I'm lost. Sometimes I am in a forest, sometimes I am in my native Manhattan. And I cannot find my way home. I cannot get home. I know it's stemming from the fact I am not home right now, I am still recooping at my parents house until I am able to climb stairs and stand long enough to do simple things like cook dinner or take a shower. I miss my place, I miss my cat. I want to see her for Christmas. I want to sleep in my own bed again.

I look at people my age, they have children, and I'm not going to ever have any. It hurts. I never ever want to get married again, that hurt too much too. I have to let it go. Every time I see a toy commercial on TV now, it's like a dagger in my heart. Every time I see a commercial for a jewelry store it's another dagger, some guy buying some nice bauble for his girl for the holiday. I don't really wear jewelry, but....

And then there is New Years Eve. One more New Years in my life without being near a special person at midnight.  Sigh. Yes, I will be with my parents, and they are special, but, there is a lot to be said about a  good snog.

Sigh. Does anyone want to hire me? I hope I can find some work in 2011. I just want to get better and work again and join the human race again. That's how to get off the pity pot. I need to find a paying market. My body is rusty, my writing is rusty. With practice and hard work they both should be at their best soon. And then maybe someone will want me.  Hopefully soon.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Update On Lithium Toxicity (I hope this will clear up any confusion)

There seems to be some miscommunication going around the blogosphere what caused my kidneys to fail. I fear I might have accidentally added to it.

I saw the GP yesterday. Here is the official scoop, which I hope will end any confusion.

The official result that was sent to the insurance company is  from "Unknown Etymology".
My GP told my mother he thinks it was from an over the counter pain pill I had taken 18 hours before for menstrual cramps. I took two pills, and in 18 hours they  had left my system by then.

However the second time I was admitted to the hospital I spoke to several doctors and interns  who actually took the time to sit down with me and go over the meds I have been on and said it was from lithium poisoning but they would never swear to that on the record.

I was premature when I blogged from my hospital bed it might have been from Nexium or Seroquel, the results from the biopsy had not come in and the doctors were just shooting theories at me, and I was desperate to tell people I am alive. NO RESULTS WERE KNOWN AT THE TIME BECAUSE THE BIOPSY GOT LOST AND IT TOOK TWO WEEKS TO GET THE RESULTS. When I spoke to another blogger on the phone two weeks ago, the biopsy had not come in. No one knew at the time what the official reason was.

So I admit I made a huge mistake in blogging what it might and might not have been.  We learn from our mistakes and I am truly sorry for any confusion I might have caused. It was not my intent.

And for those who still might doubt me, at the time of my admission, there was only Seroquel and lithium in my blood stream. No other drugs.  I take Nexium once a week. And there was the OTC pill I had taken for cramps 18 hours prior. I had taken the Nexium pill several days earlier, so it was not in my blood stream. Nexium did not show up on the biopsy. You can draw your own conclusions.

Again, I am sorry for any misconceptions that are going around the blogosphere. If there is any questions, please don't hesitate to email me at Hollythecat at gmail. com
I understand if anyone is angry at me because of this, It was not my intention.

I have stated the complete facts as they are totally known.


Saying Goodbye To My Support Group Hello To A New Kind of One

This past weekend I sent a note to the President of my local support group who is also, as chance would have it, the President of the State chapter as well. As of January 1, 2011 I won't be on the board of either group and unable to facilitate.

Seven years ago I started going to these meetings. And in all honesty, (since I've never been anything but honest in this blog) I haven't gotten much out of them. A lot of war stories that bind us together. The same problems with family and friends, and work issues.

But what I noticed over the years is striking, and upsetting. I've seen so many people come in from a long extended stay at a hospital, either private or state. They are on many many meds. I'm not a doctor, but is there a reason that someone has to be on five, seven, nine, different psych meds?
I've been on as much as nine at a time myself. Plus other pills to clear the side effects from the psych meds. Upset stomach, migraines, vomiting, even Miridia because one doctor was worried about all the weight I had put on in six months from Seroquel. (Note: He did not tell me to get off the Seroquel, though).
I've seen people come in and beg for answers about ECT. I've gone down on my knees and told them not to do it, to wait a while longer before engaging in such a procedure. I've been told to shut up because they were hell bent on getting this treatment and wanted to hear good things about it. And I can report, sadly, that those in the group who had it, had nothing happen, it wasn't the panacea it was touted as.

The older I get the more cynical I get. Maybe I've spent too many months in hospitals, in the trenches. I've seen the bad and the ugly. I don't know how many useless tears I've shed over this.

But this year, I hit the breaking point. To paraphrase Ginzburg, I've seen the minds of my generation destroyed. I've seen folks come in who were functional, who, now because of the drug cocktail they are on, unable to work and now on disability. I've seen the functional reduced to suicidal zombies, with any hopes for the future dashed and gone. I've seen people  go from fully fully functional to unable to do the simplest tasks for themselves, and if they didn't have the good fortune to have a husband/partner to care for them would be non compos mentos and most likely in a state hospital or nursing home for the rest of their lives. And I've seen those whose bodies have been shattered and practically destroyed from a suicide attempt that failed.

I've seen some successes, but those seem to be the people who are just on one drug not a cocktail, and rebound because they have a good therapist, or just rebound on their own when the depression lifts on it's own, or just by sheer grit and determination to ride it out and conquer it.

I'm tired. In the seven years I've been going, I cannot handle it anymore. I am mad as hell. Maybe it comes from my near death experience last month, when I was brought into the hospital and told last week I had actually started to die. Or maybe it's because I've been reading voraciously over the last year, books by Breggin, Szasz and Whittaker, among others.
Or maybe I just feel that people with the psych label on them are treated as second class citizens, not as human beings. This flies in the face of the fact that some of the greatest most talented and creative people in history have been labeled bipolar, schizophrenic, or depressed.

Right now I have to take care of me, and I have a long road ahead with physical recovery. When I am able, though, I want to spend the time with other groups I tend to agree with now, like Mind Freedom, Icarus and Psych Rights. I know someone personally who will say I've gone to the dark side, but someone has to speak up for those who cannot speak. I was grateful this past month when I could not speak, others spoke for me and got the word out.

Fourteen years ago, when I realized that shots of vodka and Everclear in my Snapple wasn't going to quell the suicidal ideation, I got sober.  I had hit bottom, lost everything I owned and was practically homeless, spending 18 hours a day in a 24 Hour Club. And one of the things I learned in AA was to pay it forward.

It's time for me in the New Year to do that. Pay it forward.I'm going to miss the old one and I'm still going to be an activist. It's just a different kind.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I'm back!

I finally got wifi, and am able to get into my mail, and start blogging again proper!

I'm still in a lot of pain, I've been rushed back to the hospital twice since my last post but fortunately didn't have to stay overnight. I am resting at my parents house walking with the help of a walker, since I cannot stand up or walk on my own, and I have a catheter since... well, we won't go there .

I know it's early, but I want to wish everyone a very happy holiday. Here's one of my favorite holiday songs, cutesy of the Trans Siberian Orchestra. Enjoy.


Friday, December 10, 2010

They say in the darkest night

I am writing this on my phone so I wlll be brief.

I was rushed back to hospital Tuesday nite. The good news is my kidneys are getting stronger. The bad news is no one knows what is causing this pain I have on my side.

I've been poked til I'm black and blue and my veins collapsed so I have a Pic line. I have an IV in my foot

I'm on a morphine drip for the pain and a Foley because my legs will not hold me up

And they just moved me to surgery ward which is scaring me shitless.

I keep thinking of a line by Jimmy Webb "they say in iN darkest night there's a light beyond".

Outside my window there is a Christmas tree.

I'm holding on to that light but it's hard. I'm scared.

I'm just going to hold on to that light from the tree and hope I am with my family for Christmas.

Eta: as soon as I can I will post an update things don't really happen on weekends and I should have some answers soon. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Monday, December 6, 2010

No Heroics, Please

If you haven't heard, I had been away in hospital for 15 days with my kidneys shutting down and urine poisoning in my blood. I've gone through transfusions, and dialysis, and now it's a long road home to recovery and getting my kidneys to start working again. I'm as frail as a new born lamb.

I am so grateful for the phone calls, cards, wishes and prayers. It really helped during all the times I was in pain and just wanted to quit and go into that good night. I had to give into the pain and keep on going. Just like we all do.

Raymond Carver wrote a book while he was dying called "No Heroics, Please". I don't think I did anything heroic. Instead I was getting strength from people I know whose stories are so much harder than mine.

You have to keep going. I am so frustrated right now about how fragile I am and how sick I am. I cannot do anything for myself including walking. I'm saddened in my heart to know that this poisoning came from either Seroquel which I was doing a proper taper, or Nexium, a drug I've needed for years since lithium ruined my stomach and digestion. It wasn't from lithium but it will probably be a year before my kidneys are back to functioning at 100 percent.

Internet access is only through my phone and my ability to write is so rusty I want to cry.

I'm not gone. I'm still here. I am blessed. I just have a long road in front of me to get better to heal. I shall write about it as much as I can when I can. It's all baby steps right now. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

ETA: The official result from the biopsy ruled out Seroquel and Nexium; it was from lithium.
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