Creativity

Creativity comes and goes. I’m not sure if it’s related to my mood or my medications. Probably a little of both. Many people with bipolar disorder think that their bipolar meds–mood stabilizers like Lamictal or Lithium–stunts their creativity. I have been taking Lamictal for ten years, and for a few years also had been taking Lithium, which made me fat. Anyway, I was rather unstable at the time, and also taking an antidepressant. My moods were all up and down, but I managed to do some writing. It wasn’t very good writing, but I was writing anyway and almost finish a book. I gave up on it because I just couldn’t figure out the ending, and though I believed in my characters I didn’t believe in the plot.

So, now, my disability is up for review, and I am anxious and worried that I might lose my benefits–disability income and Medicare. When I had first applied for disability in 2009, I had been having trouble working. I had quit my lost job in 2008 on the spot, after frequently calling in sick and showing up late, and going on temporary disability twice in 2007. I had been hospitalized in 2007 for ten days for a mixed manic episode and had difficulty returning to work. After I quit my job, I received either unemployment compensation or State disability benefits for about year. It was awhile ago, and I can’t remember. But it must have been State disability, because I was immediately approved for SSDI in 2009 and and received a retroactive lump sum going back to the date SSA determined I was first disabled.

I don’t think I am ready to go back to work, and I don’t know when I will be. I think I have a serious mental illness, and now I have arthritis which limits my activities. Now, I am feeling depressed and angry with my parents because they think I should just get up and get a job and go to work. Just because I look fine on the outside doesn’t mean I am okay. My parents really don’t get it. When I was a kid, I used to wish I hadn’t been born. Like if I had a choice, if anyone had asked me if I wanted be a sentient human being, I would have preferred not to exist. I realize I must sound very negative, but I feel like there is nothing special about me, nothing special about my life, and no special love. I have many interests but not much passion for anything in particular. I really wanted to write a book, but I haven’t been writing anything. When I was growing up, my primary ambition–my quest–was to write a book and get published. That was it. I didn’t think about getting married and having kids. But I have noticed over the years that I am usually happier with my life when I am in a good, stable relationship.

Anyway, I am thinking maybe I need to go back on Abilify, because I seemed more active and motivated then, when I was taking it. And I want to talk to my therapist again, because I stopped seeing her when I was doing physical therapy for the arthritis, and I am feeling angry and depressed and anxious again and as I mentioned above thinking that I shouldn’t have been born because lately I haven’t been feeling motivated to do anything except the most basic things in life. Of course, I still enjoy my TV shows and audiobooks, and I started playing WoW again, just an hour a day or so because of the arthritis and my neck and shoulder pains. Of the TV shows I have binge-watched these past few months: Supergirl, Shadowhunters, The Crown, Poldark, and Harlots. I watched Poldark twice in fact. I can’t wait for season 3, and I hope Harlots will get a season 2, because I really want to know what is gonna happen next. Other than that, most of the time I just wanna stay in bed. Oh and watch prime-time MSNBC, especially The Rachel Maddow Show.

That’s it for now. I probably won’t blog again until I receive news about my disability review. I hope my creativity will come back. I just wish that I could have had a normal and happy life when I was growing up. Maybe I would have been stronger and well-adjusted. Maybe I would have written half a dozen books by now. Maybe I would have a passion for life and feel like a have a reason for living and maybe I would want to go out and be around people and do purposeful things. But whatever. I haven’t talked to my mom since yesterday. I am still feeling resentful and angry about what she and my dad said. Oh, I’m sure they mean well, but they just have no clue what it means to have a disabling mental illness.

Girls Like Me

kb-icelandThe other day, my parents were talking in the kitchen. My dad said that maybe they were too critical of me when I was growing up. He said that maybe kids ought to be praised more. My mom said that they might have been critical but I turned out okay, that I’m a good person anyway. I just felt like crying. Because there were many times when things didn’t turn out okay.

Things didn’t turn out okay when I used to abuse alcohol in high school and college with guys who it turns out were not my friends, and to this day I still have self-destructive urges to get so fucking faded I start telling everyone my writing is meaningless crap. I guess it’s okay that I have good values. I believe that love should win. I believe in equal rights and social justice. And I believe all this because I don’t want any girl to grow up the way I did. Feeling like I didn’t matter. Because it wasn’t okay that I used to wish I hadn’t been born. And that I hadn’t been born a girl.

Because in my family, when I was growing up, girls needed to be controlled and protected so they wouldn’t be bad or make mistakes or have feelings. Because there would be consequences. Like mothers who blamed you for being such a bad girl you almost caused them a heart attack, or slapped you across the face for talking back with SARCASM, or called you a bitch in heat, or threw you out of the house because you wouldn’t break up with your fabulously eventual ex-boyfriend. When I was growing up, girls who wrote in their diaries that they dreamed about kissing a boy were told they were malicious and ought to be ashamed of themselves. Have you no shame? their mothers screamed.

Girls like me, do you remember those times? If you’ve been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, I’m here to tell you there’s nothing wrong with you. You have an illness, and it’s not your fault. You deserve the best. You deserve to shine. And you will always deserve better.

Because, girl, you matter.

Because there’s no shame in being mentally ill

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, #2016 yet again snuffed out another bright star in the galaxy, but for many fans Carrie Fisher will live on in their own light. I will remember Carrie Fisher not only as the fierce, heroic Princess Leia in Star Wars, but also as a mental health advocate who spoke about her battle with Bipolar Disorder. I can tell you many of my mentally ill friends looked up to her and admired her, because she was one of us.

Fisher has been unusually outspoken for years about her mental health battles, something many fans mourned when Fisher died at age 60 on Tuesday after suffering a heart attack several days earlier on an airplane. The actress talked candidly about bipolar disorder and her treatments and how they affected her life. She acknowledged there was still a stigma when talking about mental health, but she wanted to help fight it.

“I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on,” Fisher told ABC News.

Source: Carrie Fisher, the inspiring mental health advocate: ‘I am mentally ill. . . . I am not ashamed of that’

My story is a little different. Though I am no longer ashamed about being diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder and having been hospitalized multiple times, I have felt shame and embarrassment about being so ill and disabled. I dislike feeling vulnerable and weak, and I also felt guilty and unworthy of sympathy. I was living in the Bay Area when I was first hospitalized, I was no longer able to work, and I soon ran out of money to pay for my health insurance and treatment. I didn’t want to go home so I borrowed money from my parents.
Continue reading “Because there’s no shame in being mentally ill”

Disabled Dreams

I’ve been having trouble writing for a couple years now. I started up this blog in hopes that blogging will start up my writing. I need to write a book, whether it’s a novel or a memoir. I just need to feel like I’m doing something with my life. It’s depressing that I’m not doing anything meaningful, that I’m not creating, that I’m not achieving my longtime dream of being a writer and getting published. I used to want to make a living as a writer. Instead, I have been disabled by mental illness, and I don’t know if I’ll ever make my dreams come true. If I were manic, I would probably be writing a lot. But sometimes I don’t even know if it’s worth it anymore, if it really matters.