Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Point

I'm not always sure what the point is.

I told myself that I could have this cookie with some tea if I started writing as opposed to binge watching House. So I'm sitting here eating my cookie while I write this.

I'm not sure what the point is of writing this today is. I'm also not sure what the point is of doing anything today that won't give me some pleasure or relief from my pains.


But I also want to do some of the things I should be doing. I want to listen to and index the interview that I sat in on for the Oral History project as part of my fellowship. I want to research the topic I've chosen for my proposal, the topic of archiving the personal blogs and scholars in order to get a better sense of their work and research articles. I even want to write.

Lately, I've been going through... a mental down. I've had anxiety attacks that incapacitate me,  some depression, and a strong knowledge that I am not well... and I mean not well in a very worrying sense. I'm tired a lot... but twitchy... my heart races... I can't stop thinking until I just... do... and then I can't do anything. I know what the cause of it is, and it's a situation that I'm trying to get out of, but for the moment, I had to get extra help to cope with it. I talked to my doctor and got some extra medication - Klonopin to take as needed for anxiety, Lexapro for depression, and Trazodone to take as needed to help regulate my sleep.

I'm not one to go straight to medication as a cure. I learned a lot in therapy and I've done research on what helps my condition and moods. I know that exercise helps (but not strenuous exercise), that therapy/talking to someone helps, that making lists of the positive to combat the negative thoughts helps me visually see what's real, and I know that putting myself on a schedule and regulating my sleep when things are at their worst can set my mind on the right road. I tried all of my skills, had done everything I could to take care of me, but my mood stabilizer and these things I learned to do just haven't been cutting it. So I asked my doctor for some extra medication... because learning to ask for more help is what I've learned to do.

What I've learned to do is what I have to do to live... and take care of myself through the bipolar episodes, up and down. Because I want to live.

I want to live and I want to live fully. So I have to do the work, even when it's hard.

But... I can understand why someone wouldn't want to live like that anymore... if they had to deal with that all the time... if they had the realization that they were not well in a very worrying sense. I can understand how they would not want to live because they couldn't live... because they didn't know how, or couldn't get past the knowing how to the actual doing of the living.

A year ago today, my cousin Adrian lost his fight with Schizophrenia. He was 35.

It was horrible and it was messy. He had been off his meds for a while because he said he felt better, that he was better. But then he had a bad week... and on the morning of the 26th of March, 2015, he took a knife from the kitchen, ran into his room, and locked the door.

From my understanding of the events of the day, my aunt pleaded with him to unlock the door, to talk to her, to not harm himself. I was told that he said he didn't want to go through this anymore, that he just wanted it all to stop. My cousin, his sister, tried to talk to him and get him to open the door. My aunt called the police in an attempt to get someone, anyone, to help her.

Once the police arrived, I was told they tried to talk to him, ordered him to open the door, said they were going to go in, and then... They say that he opened the door, throat already slit and bleeding, and charged at the police with the knife. So they opened fire.

I have to wonder how the police felt after that, knowing that he was just a suicidal guy who was likely making the suicide inevitable... definite. I wonder if they had hoped to save him, thinking that it may have been possible to save him... maybe. Who knows. But since he charged at them with a knife, you know they had to open fire, effectively finishing what he started.

You have to admit, one must really want to die to make the decision he did. It's a rather foolproof way to do it, if a little messy, not to mention mentally scarring for those left behind who already have to deal with the fact that their loved one is dead.

On the anniversary of my cousin's horrible suicide, I want to commemorate his death by telling everyone that it's not weak or bad to rely on medication and there's nothing wrong with getting help by using them. There's a key to not being a zombie (a common complaint), not gaining weight, or not having sexual side effects because of the medication. One can try to find the right pill, attend therapy as often as necessary, and learn the skills that can help mentally battle the demon. Mainly, though, the key is knowing that you need to get help and to get it no matter what, even if it means medication.

We can't do it alone. None of us, mentally ill or not. We all need to learn to get help... medically, emotionally, and even financially. Some things are easier to ask for help with, although there are those that hate to ask for help with anything. But... asking for help is ok.

We live in a world that thinks we should believe in science, but medication is wrong. We're told that we're strong enough to get through anything with the right mental attitude and the right habits. Well, sometimes we aren't strong enough... and that's ok. And sometimes it's ok to live a medicated life because we aren't strong enough; some of us have oddly wired brains. But, some of us have heart problems, or diabetes, or any other medical problem and have to live medicated lives. So why is that so different?

There's no difference. All of these people are just doing what they need to do to survive and live healthy, normal (whatever that means) lives. That's the point.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Meds or Madness

The episodes aren't quite to this extent for me, but it's definitely a different, more amplified version of me when I've had one. I've chosen to avoid Lithium as I don't think I need that strong of a drug, but I find that I can control the bipolar disorder with the meds I'm on and the skills I've learned in therapy. I'm thankful for this.

Sometimes I wonder, though, will it always be enough? Will I have to choose Lithium? For those that it works for, I can understand the struggle and this article does a good job at conveying what the struggle is and how hard it can be to choose for one reason or another.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The State of Things

I've been staring at this space to type out my post for a good 3-4 hours. I'm not sure what to write... or how to write it, I just know that I feel I have to say something to fill the silence... and maybe to help understand it.

Also, I'd like to post something to say he was here... something that will mark a space for him... something that will tell a part of his story - the worst part - so that maybe others don't have to go there and can get help. Or maybe so that people can see the reality of it. 

I don't know. 

For now I'll start with copying an email I sent to a friend earlier today to explain the situation because I'm having a hard time coming up with new words.

My cousin died yesterday. He was 35. I found out last night when I got home. My sister called me to let me know. The details are a bit jumbled as we're getting the info as it comes in from my aunts.

It was a bit brutal... I haven't read more of the news coverage on it... I'm afraid to as they don’t have all the details and they’re still investigating it. I do know that it was a suicide attempt... and then he was shot. Apparently he had a knife and my aunt was trying to stop him... he locked himself in his room so she called the police to help... they got there and went to his room, he opened the door and attacked them, so they shot him... They say that he had already sliced his throat, though... and I don't understand it... and yes, I'm at work because I thought it was better to try to keep myself occupied. The grief/knowledge comes in waves.

My mom said that he had had a bad week and had just wanted the voices to stop. He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia about... 10 -15 years ago, I think.

My guess is that he knew what he was doing when he went for the officers, especially considering that, if they went in to find him with his throat slit but still savable, they'd likely try to stop him. So why not attack, knowing full well they'd have to shoot him? I feel badly for the officer and I hope people don't blame him.

I can't help but think, though... and I hate to say it 'cause it does sound so cliche... but he's better off, maybe? In a better place... even if that's no place? He was just this broken boy... who had to live with his parents because he was mentally ill... like... badly...

I can talk about it… I mean… let’s not ignore the elephant in the room. Still, I can’t fully explain it without breaking down sometimes.

Living with my own mental illness is tough at times and I can't imagine how tough it was for my cousin. Apparently it was unbearable... and I can see that, can see why he did it. Maybe people will think that this is horrible to say, but I can see the why of it. It's sad and disturbing that it happens, and maybe if he had the right meds/help/diagnosis (if in fact he didn't), he'd have been better whilst alive. Then again, maybe not. 

I'll reach out to friends if I need help, but mainly I'm going to remain quiet for a while. I may or may not post here to help write things out, but mostly... I've little to no words right now. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday's Wish

I decided that I'm taking the plunge again... and then again I'm not.

That's right, I'm going to take part in NaNoWriMo this year and see how I do with work, school, and book.

I'm making a huge wish that this will work.

I'm going to try out the first week to see how I do. From there, if it works out ok, I'm going to take time to write each day - that is all. I'm taking time to write for the month of November in hopes of getting 50,000 words, but really just trying to get any.

I even updated my NaNo profile with info on the book, a cover (that'll do for now... see above) and everything!

As I was updating my profile and fiddling with the synopsis and excerpt, I got tingly... the kind of tingly I get when I'm writing and really into it. It made me want to write more right here... in the middle of the day... at work! I even tightened up the opening/excerpt as I added it and had to stop myself from doing more.

Want to know what it's about? Go here to check out my NaNoWriMo info.