Category Archives: Beware the Psycho

I’m Not Crazy, Just Bipolar

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Okay, so bipolar by definition pretty much means you’re crazy, but I read a book with that title and it made me happy.  Last week, I called my doctor and was talking to her nurse [named Joy, who happens to be one of my favorite people in the world] and I was talking too fast, and bursting into tears, and generally not making much sense, and she said to me, “Um, you need an appointment.  What are you doing this afternoon?”  It was 1:12 PM, and I was going to have to pick up kids from school at 2:30, so she said, “Can you be here at 1:30?”

“Yeah. Let me brush my teeth and I’ll be on my way.”  I might have changed my clothes, too, ’cause I don’t remember if I’d gotten dressed yet, but I was there by about 1:35.  They weighed me and did vitals, and in comes my doctor, asking what was going on.  I burst into tears mid-sentence, said I was feeling too crazy, told her about a trip through the internet I’d had earlier, and how I’d stumbled upon the term Bipolar 2 and so-called ‘Soft-Bipolar’ and that Bipolar 2 was scarily familiar.

I told her about seeing a psychiatrist years ago right after my son was born, and telling her about my crazy mood swings, and asked her then if I might be Bipolar.  She asked me if I’d every disappeared for weeks at a time, gambled all my money away, or gone on spending sprees or alcoholic binges. I hadn’t, so she said I was just depressed.

I was on Zoloft at the time, and it worked amazingly well. I’d been spiraling into a deep postpartum depression and Zoloft kicked me out of it.  I felt great. In fact, I hadn’t felt that good in forever.  I realized then that I’d struggled with depression since I was a very small child, like about age six.  I also knew that there had been times where I was really hyper and happy, but again, I’d never exhibited the ‘typical’ signs of mania, so my psychiatrist told me that was actually ‘normal’.

After a year or so, the Zoloft stopped working as well, so we raised my dose.  We continued to raise my dose until I finally decided I needed to find a non-med way of dealing with my depression. I found a book that was basically cognitive therapy written down, and put the lessons to work.  I managed to develop some coping skills, and thought I’d finally kicked my depression in the butt.

Looking back, I see now that I was probably rapid cycling for most of my adult life.  I know I’ve had normal days, and maybe even weeks or months where I was pretty okay. But the thing that stands out now is that about every six months or so, I would go through a time where I was having a hard time sleeping [insomnia is a given in my life and has been since I was a kid. The big difference now is that I take a LOT of meds before bed so they’ll make me sleepy enough I don’t have a choice but to go to sleep. In essence, they knock me out enough that I can’t think even if I want to, which allows me to go to sleep].

The creepy thing is, I can also see that there are times when I’ve been full on delusional and possibly manic, but due to geography and lack of opportunity, never got into nearly as much trouble as I might have. In other words, I was willing to do crazy things, but my friends kept me more or less grounded.  Growing up on a farm in the middle of nowhere may very well have saved my life.

In fact, once I could drive, I made some incredibly crappy decisions without any consideration of the consequences. The thing is, it’s still kinda hard to know what was just normal teenage behavior and what was outside of normal. I certainly wasn’t the craziest kid in town, but I definitely did things when I was hyper that I never would have done had I been thinking clearly.

There were definitely times that had someone offered, I would have done anything anyone suggested. But during my normal or depressed times, I was too shy to talk to the kids who would have encouraged that kind of behavior, and when I was manic [or hypomanic] I was angry at those same kids and hated them…so I avoided them anyway!

So much of my life makes more sense now.  I’ve been reading stories of people with bipolar disorder, and every once in a while, it hits me, “Dear God, that’s me.  It was always me.”  I’ve always had incredibly deep emotional highs and lows. I just feel more intensely than what can be considered ‘normal’.  Sometimes, I would have an intense high or low for no reason, and then go back in my mind to figure out what had caused the mood swing.  Now I know, there was no cause.  I mean, there might have been a trigger, but that’s not the same thing.

So looking back, I think my first manic or hypomanic state happened when I was about 13.  I spent the entire year completely hyper and pushing boundaries. The funny thing is, something always happened that prevented me from going through with some of my more erratic plans. My best friend and I had gotten caught skipping class and I believe we were suspended for a half day and got our parents called. So we decided we were going to run away from home. I missed the bus on purpose, and as my friend and I were walking out the front door to go somewhere that wasn’t home, my friend’s mom was waiting by the front door of the school and saw us.  My friend had an eye appointment she’d forgotten about.

My life is kind of littered with weird little coincidences like that. Things would happen to prevent me from going as far as I’d planned or been willing to go.  The few times nothing was there to stop me from making a bad choice, the experience was horrible enough that it scared me out of trying it again [or else it triggered an episode of depression, which sucked away my motivation].  One of the weird things about mania is that everything seems connected. It’s all a sign from God, or the Universe, or whatever.  It’s common to have spiritual experiences. It’s basically an altered state of consciousness without drugs.  It can be a time of wonderful creativity, or it can be horrible and incredibly self-destructive.

I never became suicidal to the point of actively trying to take my life, but I’ve been to a point where I wished I could die, and would do things that I knew could kill me if I got lucky.  Or unlucky, depending on how you look at it.  One of my more brilliant slow suicide attempts was when I started smoking at 18. I didn’t have the guts to attempt suicide, but I knew that smoking could eventually kill me, so I started.

So my first manic state was around age 13, and my second started right before I turned 19. Once I was 18, I had my driver’s license, so I was able to get into considerably more trouble than I had been at 13.  In fact, thinking about it today is still a little traumatic.  During that year or so, I lost my virginity through sexual assault, flunked out of nursing school, was sexually promiscuous with multiple partners, experimented with drugs and alcohol, and was generally a complete basket case.

I see now that my behavior during that time was completely out of character for me.  Looking back, and having read real accounts of what a mania episode looks like, I see that I more than qualified during that time.  In fact, writing even the briefest rundown of what happened to me during that year makes me cringe in shame.  I don’t want anyone to read it, and I didn’t even go into any real details.

It’s highly disturbing to realize that while most of my episodes have been with depression and hypomania, I’ve had distinct breaks from reality, and the more I think about it, the more I realize that they were far more frequent than I’d like to think about.

During the semester in which I managed to get kicked out of nursing school [I find that I want to tell you that I didn’t actually flunk out. I still had passing grades, all As and Bs, in fact. The reason my teachers didn’t let me continue was because I didn’t do my clinical papers.  Seriously. I didn’t graduate because I didn’t get my homework done. I could have sat and recited every disease process I’d seen, word for word, during my clinical time, but because I hadn’t written it down, I didn’t get to continue] I can’t help but wonder what might have been different if someone had been able to see my behavior as a manic episode.

It was 1993-1994, so chances are, I would have flunked out anyway, but still. If I’d have been diagnosed, they might have let me come back the following year if I’d managed to get stabilized by then.  There are some colleges that allow you to drop classes and take a leave of absence due to mental health issues.  God knows I needed one.  As it was, I got a mood stabilizer of sorts within a short time anyway. I met my future husband.

Which is where I need to end, because my current husband [who is the same guy! Let’s hear it for my beloved having the patience of Job dealing with a crazy wife all these years] is waiting for me to finish this so we can go on a motorcycle ride.  Cannot say no to motorcycle rides.  They are magnificent.  😉

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A New Name, A New Purpose

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So I’ve realized that I need a place to vent.  E-mail is okay, except that sometimes I just want to whine like a fiend, and when you whine in an e-mail, people tend to respond.  This is considerably more public, and yet less likely to be read and commented upon.

Weird, I know, but there you go.  What I need here is a place to go to get rid of some of the words that are trying to make my head explode.  I’m living at the farm [AKA my parents’ house] with my husband, my kids, my dogs, my brother, and my parents.  That’s eight humans and two dogs.  In a three bedroom house.  It’s enough to try the sanity of any person, and since I’m half nuts already, I’m in trouble, you know?

I’m far, far away from all my friends, so my face-time [and therefore talking time] is seriously curtailed.  I recently joined Facebook, and realized that I need to write more.  Facebook seems to be something for short updates and a way to keep in touch with people, which is cool, but if you know me, you know I am completely incapable of being short and to the point.

As always, anyone is welcome to read this thing, but be aware that this is my place to vent my feelings, which means it will come out all wrong, and way more vehement than I really feel [exaggeration helps me calm down. so sue me]. so I’m really not asking for any in depth analyzing of my motives or deep conversation.

I just want to whine and write random shit and not have to worry about having to answer for my behavior.  Maybe it’s not the best thing to have a public blog for, but it’s what I need right now, okay?

Anybody need any extra hormones?

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‘Cause mine are on overload and making me effing crazy right now.  How is it that I’m 33 and still have PMS from hell?  I had some kind of jacked up premenstrual psychosis going for two weeks, and now that my stupid period has started, I’ve got cramps, I’ve had a migraine for three days, and I’m depressed as hell.

Hormones are the bane of my existence.  I think they’re trying to kill me.

Sleepy and Depressed

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I’m sad today.  I’m not sure why, exactly.  Maybe it’s the steroids [they’ve been getting the blame a lot lately, haven’t they?]  I dunno.

I suppose it could be a depression thing.  God knows I’ve been irritable lately [that’s my biggest manifestation of depression.  Isn’t my family lucky?]  I’m giving this a bit more time, but then I may have to go back on antidepressants.

I hate the way they make me feel numb emotionally, but if I can’t get my mood under control, I may just have to deal, eh?

Depression sucks.  If you’ve never had it, you really can’t understand what it’s like to feel angry and sad and be helpless to just ‘get over it.’  Not only that, but there’s really no reason for it.  I have a good life.  Unusually good, and yet I want to cry.

I’m also feeling a lot of guilt, which is another good indicator for depression [for me at least].  I feel guilty that I’m depressed and not being as good as I should be.  I’m in a bad place right now, I guess.  So much so that I shouldn’t even be blogging about it.  I’m just gonna whine here, so don’t bother to finish this.

I want so much to be better at life, you know?  I hate that I can’t get my house clean, even though I’m here all day long. I hate that I’m not organized, and because of that, I suck at paying bills on time.   And money is tight, so if we fuck up too much, it’s near impossible to get caught up.

Luckily, most of our bills are automatic withdrawals [as many as can be, and all of the big ones] so things won’t get to the bankruptcy [or foreclosure] stage again.  It’s just hard to fall so short so much of the time.

I don’t know why I’m miserable right now, but I am.  I feel guilty because I’m not as good a mom as my kids deserve, I’m not as good a wife as my husband deserves, I’m a crappy housekeeper, and sometimes I’m not a very nice person, either.

Most days now, I can be realistic and honest and not hate myself because most days, I can see what’s real and what’s true and what’s my own self-talk lying bullshit.

Today, I’m just not sure.  I need to sleep.

Because I Can’t Freaking Sleep

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Random thoughts.  I have to teach Sunday School in the morning.  Steve and I slept late this morning, so I’m wired, even though it’s after midnight.  I go down to 10mgs of Prednisone tomorrow.

Yay.  I’ve almost survived it.  And I’m almost back to normal.

You know, there’s a part of me that gets embarrassed when I blog about sex.  Which is weird, since I grew up in a home that was pretty open about it.  My mom made sure I knew all the gory details the first time I asked [at about age 5 or 6].  I don’t think she anticipated my near-perfect auditory recall.

I shared all those gory details with anyone who would listen, too.  It’s probably a good thing we never went to church when I was a kid.  I might have been excommunicated as a kid.  Okay, not really, but I might have been scarred for life since I was uber-sensitive as a kid and would have died if an adult would have told me something I’d done was inappropriate.

We drove an hour and a half to eat dinner with Steve’s family tonight.  I managed not to wring anyone’s neck, so that was good.  I have good in-laws, but I get annoyed sometimes, and with me still being a bit erratic from the Prednisone, I was worried that Steve’s aunt would say something that hit me wrong and I’d let her have it.

I didn’t, though, so it was all good.

We listened to Nickelback all the way there, so I was happy when we got to the restaurant.  The food sucked, though.  I should have ordered something from the menu instead of eating the buffet, but I was thinking about money.  Oy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the live chat at Doug’s place.  I’m gonna have to get me one of those cameras and hook it up.  Actually, I might have one that I forgot about.  It’s in a box some where, though, and we have a lot of freaking boxes.

This is mostly an anonymous blog, even though I write about personal stuff, but I don’t think I’ve ever used my last name, although I have said where I live.  I don’t know why I think I shouldn’t tell people my last name.  I think it’s my natural tendency toward paranoia.

That, and I’m the only Shelbi _____ in the freaking world.  Weird first name spelling combined with a rare last name would make it really easy for anyone to find me.  I think I started out being careful because I didn’t know how many readers I’d have.  It’s probably safe to say that I’m never gonna have a lot.

I’m not good at sticking to one topic, I’m not good at being ‘provocative’ and I hate soap-opera shit anyway, so even if I tried it, I couldn’t maintain it for any length of time.  So I do random stuff about the things I think about, and I’m okay with that, you know?

Not interesting, necessarily [although a lot of people come see my post about Brazilian waxing] but it’s cathartic, so I continue.

Steroids have killed my libido.  It wasn’t that great to begin with [I’m okay having sex 2-4 times a month… which is a stark contrast to Steve, who would like to have sex at least every other day, and once every day would be even better].   I don’t know if we’ll ever be perfectly compatible in this area.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy sex, because I do.  But with it being as much work as it is for me to reach orgasm [remember, I have to have a plug-in close by or it’s a no-O] I just think to myself, “Damn, I’m tired.  It’s gonna take this long, and then we have to… blah blah blah.”

I know that sometimes I should just do a ‘quickie’ [our term for no vibrator, and no orgasm for Shelbi] but I don’t want to.  I get all angsty and depressed sometimes feeling guilty because I don’t want to mess with sex unless I can come, too, but I don’t want to put forth all the effort it takes to have an orgasm, so poor Stevie just gets no sex [well, no partner sex anyway].

In Christian circles, they pretty much tell us to ‘do our duty’ but I’m not much for duty.  If I ‘have’ to do something, I’ll avoid it even more usual, which is obviously not what I want to do here.

And the thing is, I want to have more desire for sex, I just don’t know how to kick start my libido, you know?  I don’t really know what has caused it to be so low [well, I think the prednisone has made it even worse than usual, but I never have much].  So I have no idea what I need to do to increase it.

I’ve wondered about creams and stuff [is it testosterone cream?] but I haven’t had the courage to ask my doctor about ways to increase my libido.  It makes me nervous, just because it’s so personal [and face to face is way different than blogging about it] and the ‘what ifs’ could make me crazy.

My biggest fear is that I’ll tell her and either she’ll blow me off [which she’s never done, so I don’t think that’s a realistic fear] or we’ll try everything available and nothing will work.  I don’t know why having a problem with a possible cure [that I’m not using] is preferable to  trying to fix it and finding out the cures don’t work for me, but I think that might be the issue, here.

I dunno.

Michaela is crying, so I guess I’m done for now.

Confessions of a Judgmental Wench

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Okay, so I read the first couple of paragraphs of this article, and realized, again, that I’m pretty judgmental, and maybe prejudice.

Against rich people.

I can’t imagine paying $264 for an eight ounce piece of meat.  Ever.  Even if I was as rich as Oprah it would feel wrong to me.  And anyone who would, well, I think I hate them.  I like nice things, but people like Paris Hilton, who seem to have no redeeming qualities whatsoever just make me sick.

I think if I ever met Paris [or Naomi Campbell…she pisses me off, too, and so do her assistants.  I keep thinking that if that psycho skinny bitch ever hit me upside the head with a freaking phone, I’d put her in the hospital, you know?  Why do the assistants never fight back, that’s what I want to know?]

Anyway, the two adjectives that come to mind when I think of these weird-o heiresses or supermodels are vapid and shallow.  That one scene where Michael Jackson was shopping on that documentary [the one that led to the last accusations of molestation] and he just bought a bunch of crap that he didn’t need because he could.

I get so frustrated with people who have tons of money who use it to buy stuff for themselves, never thinking about the fact that they spend enough money in one shopping spree to feed a village in Africa for two years [or more].  That kid that Madonna adopted?  She bought him a bunch of furniture and clothes and spent almost $10,000 on ONE KID!!!  And it’s all infant stuff, so he’s gonna need it for what, six to eight months?

I just keep thinking that she could have given that money to the kid’s father [or put it in a trust fund] and paid for the boy’s education, and his father’s, too, if he wanted it, and fed and clothed them, probably for the rest of their lives.  That kind of crap pisses me off, and I think that makes me judgmental and prejudiced, and you know what?

I’m okay with that.

Voting God’s Politics

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I belong to a newsletter that’s published on line called “Sojourners.”  If there was ever a Christian sect that I relate well to, it’s these people.  One of their guys wrote a guide about voting ‘God’s Politics’ which basically flies in the face of most conservative Christians because it clearly states that God is not a Republican or a Democrat, but lists issues that are clearly of concern to Him based on what we read about him in the Bible [and it’s not as iron-fisted as many interpret it to be].

Anyway, it’s a good guide.  It is well-rounded in the issues that the human race should be concerned about, not just abortion, stem-cell research, gay marriage, and euthanasia.

Things like compassion and economic justice [meaning that people should be able to work and make a decent living, children shouldn’t be poor, extreme poverty must end.

Other concerns:  Peace and restraint of violence.  We’ve got a President who claims to be a Christian, yet he’s as bloodthirsty as Henry the VIII.  That’s almost an oxymoron, since I think Jesus was closer to being a peacenik than a warmonger.

Consistent Ethic of Life:  Reduce abortion, but not only by legislation.  We should be enabling women to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place and if there is an unwanted pregnancy, we have an obligation to offer the woman a viable alternative to abortion, eh?  I mean telling a woman that abortion is wrong, so she shouldn’t have one, but then abandoning her to deal with the pregnancy/baby on her own is just as wrong as encouraging her to ‘terminate’ when she doesn’t want to.

We also have a responsibility to end genocide, regardless of where it’s happening, or to what race of people, and most especially it should have nothing to do with what natural resources or wealth that country holds.  I can’t even describe how horrified I am at the fact that our country picks and chooses who it wants to defend based on how rich they are.  That is pure evil in my view, and I think our president has hit that one more than once, eh?

Racial Justice:  “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”  Galatians 3:28

Isn’t it interesting that so many “Christians” find stuff in the Bible to justify racism when it clearly states that prejudice for any reason is wrong and decidedly non-Christian?  Hmm.  It’s plain to see that if our country lived by this principle that the Katrina disaster would never have happened.  Rich people would have picked up a few poor people before they fled New Orleans, eh?

Conservative Christians love to talk about how this country was founded on Christian principles, and yet we pick and choose which principles are most important.  It disgusts me, can you tell?

The brochure goes on to talk about Human rights, dignity and gender justice, strengthening families and renewing culture [by strengthening marriage and families, but also through restoring integrity to civic and business practices, and preventing violence…]  Good stewardship of God’s creation [which means taking care of our planet, that’s another thing the Religious right scoffs at which makes no sense to me].

Here’s the link to the full brochure.

It’s a PDF, which always slows my computer down to a crawl, but it’s worth reading.  You can download it free and print it off if you want.  I want to hand it out to the people in my church just to remind them that we can’t just look at one or two issues and decide on a candidate.  That’s how our current president got voted in, and it was a horrible mistake.  He may be a good man, but his stand on many of the most important issues is so skewed that our country is in worse shape now than it was five years ago.

We’ve lost sight of what’s important in our country, and my prayer is that we wake up before we’ve destroyed ourselves and everyone else on the planet.