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

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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?

“My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward” by Mark Lukach

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Photo from HarperCollins

NOTE: This is not a book review; these are just my thoughts–which may wander.

This book’s rating is 4.08 of 5 stars on Goodreads, so I guess people really liked it. I gave it a 3. It was just okay.

While the author is a great storyteller/narrator, what really killed it for me is that so much of the story is unbelievable. Anyone who’s ever been in a psych ward would know that.

At one point Lukach describes how he and other family visitors were allowed to hang out in the wife’s hospital room during a holiday. Are you kidding me? That would never be allowed in real life.

In a real psych ward, visitors are welcome to hang out in the visiting room with the patient; nowhere else. They enforce that rule. But in all the time I’ve spent in psych wards, I’ve never seen anyone try to break it.

Who’s “they,” you might be wondering. “They” are nurses and mental health workers. The latter are, in my experience, mostly male, strong, and probably worked security in the past. But that’s just a guess.

Anyway, there were many other unbelievable scenes in the book, none of which I remember of course, thanks to ECT. Well, and it’s been a few months since I read it; I’m only now writing down my thoughts.


Have you read My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward? What are your thoughts?

Living with Bipolar

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

So unfortunately, living with bipolar while my depression is in remission is not all sunshine and rainbows. It’s not like a get-out-of-jail-free card that allows me to escape the confines of my mentally ill brain. And it doesn’t mean the depression won’t return. For me, it means having to continue doing the things I did when depressed:

  • take my meds every day, even if I feel fine and don’t feel like taking them.
  • continue therapy, even when I don’t want to see my therapist because I feel that I have nothing to discuss. (Well, there’s my anxiety, I suppose.)
  • maintain sleep hygiene by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. This also helps keep insomnia away. Don’t ask me how; it’s what they say! In my experience, it works.
  • continue to see my psychiatrist, especially now that my appointments are months rather than weeks apart.
  • practice self-care, whether it’s by showering every single day (which I don’t do and is another story), going to a salon/spa, or treating myself to a slice of pie.
  • get my blood drawn to check if the lithium is at a therapeutic level.

These are some of the things I have to manage, plus diet and exercise (which I’ll address in the future). So for me, except for the emotional and physical heaviness I feel when I’m depressed, as well as my bleak outlook, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between depression and remission. At least that’s how I feel right now.


What differences do you feel when you’re depressed followed by remission?