Working on us, Week 7

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*** Trigger Warning ***

On her blog, Beckie of Beckie’s Mental Mess has introduced a set of prompts that touches on mental illness. Each week she offers up 2 prompts for bloggers to use in a nonfiction, fiction, or poetry piece. You can respond to either prompt, or both. For more information, click here. This week, I am responding to Prompt 1.

Week #7 (Delicate Topic) – Suicide Ideation

Prompt #1 Questions

I am glad that Beckie chose “suicide” as this week’s topic. We need to talk about it instead of being silent.

  1. Have you ever experienced suicidal thoughts? Many, many times.
  2. Have you ever attempted suicide? A number of times.
  3. Were you ever hospitalized for a suicidal attempt and/or ideation? Several times.
  4. When you were hospitalized, what was your experience like? I’ve been hospitalized numerous times at different hospitals, so my experience is varied. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed at a truly frightening psych ward. All but one were bad, but at least they weren’t worse, which I’m certain some places are. And then there’s my psych unit “of choice,” in which you were allowed a number of personal freedoms. And you got your own room.
  5. Do you ever feel suicidal ideation since your release? Yes, I have, but I haven’t acted on it. Although medication is readily available to me, my husband has hidden all of  our knives and razors.

 

Working on Us, Week 6

Hands Over Face
Photo from Pixabay

On her blog, Beckie of Beckie’s Mental Mess has introduced a set of prompts that touches on mental illness. Each week she offers up 2 prompts for bloggers to use in a nonfiction, fiction, or poetry piece. You can respond to either prompt, or both. For more information, click here. The rules are below. This week, I am responding to Prompt 1.

 

Rules:

  • Write your own post and create a pingback to the original post here.
  • There are no right or wrong answers.  Write in any format you see fit.  (Answer’s, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, poem, short prose…anything).
  • You can do one or all prompts.
  • You have from July 10th. through to July 17th to submit your entries.
  • Please reblog the original post in order to spread more awareness.
  • If you the blogger have a suggestion/question you want to ask in the future weeks, please submit them in the comment section of this post.
  • Let’s see if we can get some men involved in this weeks prompts, your feelings a validated here too!
  • Plus, as an added bonus, whoever responds to the following prompts will automatically be reblogged to promote your blog site!

~ 💚 ~

Week #6 Prompts: 

Prompt #1 Questions:

1. There are so many varieties of depression out there, such as Bipolar Depression, and (SAD) Seasonal Affective Disorder.  What type of depression do you suffer from, or have? I’ve suffered from bipolar depression for half of my adult life, as well as from seasonal changes (SAD).

2. What do you do to fight your depression? (Meaning, therapy, medications, meditation, ECT). Medication and therapy, inpatient hospitalizations, partial hospitalizations, and finally ECT, which I no longer undergo. And to be honest, I don’t know if I would choose that treatment option in the future.

3. Does anything help you, and if so… What? ECT has helped in the past, but it isn’t a permanent solution. More recently, my psychiatrist switched my mood stabilizer from Tegretol to lithium, which has lessened my depressive symptoms. It’s working.

Self-Forgiveness

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Photo by Joshua Jordan on Unsplash

Something I really struggle with is forgiving myself. I’m so used to beating myself up for anything and everything that I might as well be bruised all over. I think of myself as a loser.

I know better, and I’m improving as far as not beating myself up goes. For example, I began working out recently. If I miss a day, I’m not going to feel guilty about it like I normally would. I’d just say, “Oh, well” and know that I can try again tomorrow.

Or maybe I’ll decide to eat something that’s calorie dense like chocolate-covered coconut creams. Oh, well. It might make me gain a few ounces, but certainly not several pounds. Of course it’s possible to overdo the “oh, well’s” so you have to be careful. Otherwise, how would you ever get anything done?

Same, But Different

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Photo by Michael Walter on Unsplash

DEAR READERS: You’ve probably noticed that my recent posts have been all over the place, as far as the topics go. This is because I kind of don’t know what to write about. I’m well. I still can’t believe it, but I am doing well. During this last depression I never saw a light at the end of the tunnel and didn’t think one existed, but there is a light, and there is an ending.

There’s also a sequel, and that’s my current “non-depressed” life. And because of that, I don’t feel that I have much to offer regarding mental illness right now. At the same time, I love the freedom of choosing from many topics rather than just mental health/bipolar.

I’ve posted some “off-topic” posts in the past that were received well. So maybe I shouldn’t worry so much? I still want my blog to be about mental health first and foremost. Maybe that includes blogging about what it’s like to not be depressed, what it’s like to simply live with (treated) bipolar?

I don’t know. I guess I’ll figure it out as I go along. Thank you all for your patience and for sticking with me.

Best, Barb


Have you ever wanted to change the direction of your blog? Or has it evolved as it gets older?

First Hypomanic/Depressive Episode

Blue Houston
Photo credit: Thomas Hawk on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC

I moved to Houston, Texas a year after high school (I took a year off). I was going to be a music performance major, and I was thrilled to live in a different city, far away from my parents. For about 6 months, my boyfriend and I lived with his mother. Then he broke up with me.

His new girlfriend, I’d heard, was Filipino like me. I was devastated. And a little weirded out. I certainly wasn’t going to continue living with his family, even though I didn’t know how to look for an apartment.  So his mother (bless her) helped me find a nearby apartment, co-signed on the lease, and I moved out.

I had no furniture. No couch or futon to sit on, no bed to sleep on. I didn’t mind, though, because the place was mine. I spent an awful lot of time listening to Melissa Etheridge’s self-titled album. I played the song, “Similar Features,” over and over again so much, I thought the needle on the record player would be damaged from its constant use. And boy, did I ugly cry!

On campus I always ate alone, not that anyone ever invited me. I didn’t socialize with the other students in the percussion department. Most of them were older guys, or at least they seemed a lot older than my age, 19-20. I felt fear, fear, fear. I didn’t have any techniques for getting past the fear, so I turned to drugs and alcohol.

At the end of spring semester, a good friend moved back to Houston, where he was born. We got a place together. It was paaaaarty central. To me, anyway. My friend had a real job. Two of my co-workers unofficially lived with us. People were in and out of our place: my new, older (over 21) boyfriend; two couples who lived in our building.

This was, I believe, when I first experienced my first hypomanic episode. Life had become an all-day/all-night party. I hardly slept. Several months later, I went the other way. I felt suicidal for the first time in my life. I just felt awful, and I didn’t know why.

I talked to my parents over the phone, and I told them I wanted to kill myself. My mom said they would get me help back home. They came down to Houston and helped me move.

But I never got the help I needed until 1995. I don’t know why. Could be stigma in the Filipino-American community. Could be denial. Could be both.


Do you remember the circumstances surrounding you first manic episode? Or depressive episode?