21 November 2012

Inner worlds

When you always run the risk of your next step being straight off a cliff and into the valley of darkest hopeless despair without any warning, you tend to tread lightly. Or as lightly as you can plan.

Half of why the unpredictability of life, the universe, and everything makes me so gosh darn depressed, is because of this problem. Now everyone feels this to a degree. You don't know when someone is gonna be rude to you over the phone, and spoil your day. I internalise this to a horrifying degree though.

For example. Yesterday was a relatively good day. Until I had to give my mother some bad news, and she freaked out taking out all the big insult slinging guns and letting them all go off against me, seeing as she can't hit her real target. She did not just shoot the messenger, she cremated her (me) and I am sure she felt such a relief to get a load of stress of her shoulders at the same time. What better way to de-stress than to take all your crap and load it off on someone else.

Me? I started off calmly understanding that I should not take it personally, and as it escalated, my boundaries started wobbling a bit, then shaking, and finally crumbled, and I took in all of that shit, absorbed it, and whoops back down deep. Hello Valley surfing here we go.

The viscous circle then continues, because now I am walking around on very thin emotional ice, the cracks are actually showing through and I have a whole day of 6 year old acrobatics to still get through, without breaking through that ice.

Where a moment before I had been filled with enough buffer power to be able to function and weather some small storms, it had now been ripped away and I was way over into the red end of this mood spectrum.

I think I managed okay, but I'm on the depressed side again which is so miserably horrible I don't even want to refer to it.

I actually sit here all day every day, in this mind of mine and think of all the things I could and can do that would make me feel better. I even try to do them. Even the ones I don't like to do, or don't have energy for. I actively try to do things that will help me feel more positive. When it doesn't work anymore. That is when it gets scary.

What is most upsetting though is when all that hard worl gets blown away by one person's inconsiderate selfishness. And in one split second all is lost. If I could undo that? If I could stop that from happening. I would be way better able to deal with what my brain and life throws me.

15 November 2012

Would you believe?

I think too much. Who would have thought that could be a problem. I'm way to curious, inquisitive, and I think too far. I'm not happy with well enough, or the superficial.
I've always known this is one of the reasons why I struggle with finding happiness. How can I be happy when there is so much unhappiness, unfairness in the world.

This is also why I couldn't be kept contained in a religious paradigm for very long. The New Age one kept me happy longer, but there I encouraged myself consciously to find answers in some way for things I couldn't explain, and for then believing that, just because I thought them up they must be true.

Deep down I always knew that was intellectual laziness. I miss it though. I miss being able to just let go and relax, and find a happy moment.

Why Can't I do it? Is it my meds, my diagnosis? Am I just not good enough? Why is it so difficult to let go of the whole wide world on my shoulders, and focus on what I have.

See I am incredibly grateful for what I have. I live in fear everyday that I might lose it, so I am thankful for having it now.

I try and focus on the happiness, but I keep focusing on the fear of loss. Life has kind of shown me it can kick you in the teeth whenever it wants, and I am like the scared puppy waiting for the kick.

I also realise that life can just as well throw Good Luck our ways, as well as it throws the bad stuff. But for some reason I find that harder to consciously hold onto. Mostly I feel we need to make our own luck, but one is very limited in that regard. How much Free Will do we really have? This is what Sam Harris says in his book Free Will

Take a moment to think about the context in which your next decision will occur: You did not pick your parents or the time and place of your birth. You didn’t choose your gender or most of your life experiences. You had no control whatsoever over your genome or the development of your brain. And now your brain is making choices on the basis of preferences and beliefs that have been hammered into it over a lifetime — by your genes, your physical development since the moment you were conceived, and the interactions you have had with other people, events, and ideas. Where is the freedom in this? Yes, you are free to do what you want even now. But where did your desires come from?

Of Course the Micheal Teachings believe that you do choose all of these things. After long consideration I've had to move away from that believe though. I don't currently believe in any environment before or after death where one could make these choices.

So, I think too much, and I feel too much. I have tried to shut down the feeling part, because if you walk around with your emotions on your sleeve they do get trampled.

I'll probably need years of therapy to sort out all the crap in my head, but I don't have money for years of it.

So I try to just carry on. Then I wonder what kind of a life is that? To just carry on? It's not the kind of life I want, but I really don't know how to change that.

I have started to make changes that will hopefully improve our circumstances.. I'm out there looking for a full time job, so we can move out of here, and find a space of our own. But it feels useless. It feels like I am trying to pour a drop in the ocean, and my efforts are getting lost in there.

So while I just carry on I try to also make things happen, but I feel like I moving through quickly drying cement, and I just can't force my way through. This funk has lasted for so long now, and I have been unhappy about where I am in my life for so long now, I have to wonder if it will ever change.

Three years ago I started studying, believing that a qualification in my field will help me move forward into a career where I could happily provide for us. It hasn't so far. I have received my qualification, but my lack of response to job applications really depresses me.

But I just carry on. I have no choice but to carry on.

06 November 2012

Having a hard time

Just a note to say I am having a very hard time at the moment. I'm clinically depressed, but have no more visits on the medical aid left for either the Psychiatrist to up meds, or the psychologist, to pep talk me out of it.

I'm trying my best to focus on some positive stuff, but anyone who has been here knows how impossible that is. I'm at a point where it is a struggle to do even the most basic everyday things like getting out of bed, washing, getting dressed. I'm forcing myself as much as possible to carry on as normal, because if I fall down I might not be able to get up again, and I do have a 6 year old to consider as well.

I'm trying to fake it as much as possible to try and limit the impact on her.
I hope to come back with a more upbeat post soon. For now, I'm just using all my energy for survival.

29 October 2012

Hyper Religiosity and other obsessions

Hyper religiosity is a known symptom of Bipolar Disorder as well as quite a few other psychiatric conditions.
I think I have suffered from it. If you replace religion with spirituality, it comes to the same thing.

Where one is so drawn to religion, spirituality etc in order to feel special, feel unique, make sense of life, and it's problems. Where one feels that nothing else can explain so well that which you are feeling at this moment, than what you believe to be the answer. When you know that what you believe should be known by everyone. That it is the one true "faith/belief/salvation" That as long as you follow it;s statutes to perfection everything will be okay.

As long as you submerge yourself in the teachings you will find peace and happiness. That there is no other way to explain life than the way you follow.

These days these kinds of Hyper beliefs, are not limited only to religion. Also Parenting, health, etc is filled with them. Breastfeeding vs Formula, Anti-Vaccination groups, Spanking vs non spanking.

Where ever you get a group of people who so overly passionately and obsessively condemn the other side, and obsessively live their own philosophy to the exclusion of all others, there you find mental delusion.

Most people who are hyper religious end up in Cults. There seems to be some kind of an attraction to small groups of wackiness.The rest seem to just gravitate to Facebook these days.

I think I have often suffered from the above, but in various interestingly different ways.

From my spiritual period, right up to my anti-religious one, I can recognise my illness in my thought processes. Where it becomes slightly feverish and compulsive. When it's so very important, exciting and impossible to not share. There are quite a few of my older blog posts where it shines through. I'm leaving them up for now though.

So what obsessions have I had that I managed to overcome?

It would be way too embarrassing to list them. Suffice it to say I have been there. Looking back it is much easier to say "that was an unnatural obsession" than when you are right there experiencing it.

Even though it is not limited to Bipolar disorder, and I am sure everyone has it from time to time. It seems to be a recurrent theme on the bipolar spectrum which I keep seeing in my BP Friends. It's not the kind of thing where you can point it out and say. "Hey You're being delusional"  That doesn't come across to well.

It's a bit of a relief, not feeling that obsessive drive at the moment, even though it does make life seem a bit bland right now. I now know what BP sufferers mean by the meds making life very boring.

25 October 2012

Death and a six year old

I'm not sure if I have posted about my "death talk" to my daughter. It's something that has come up in the past. I've tried to explain the circle of life to her. At the time she found that satisfying, and she liked the whole concept, and it led us to talk about birth, and evolution etc.

Then later we came back to death, and she was quite upset. She was scared that her dad and I would die when we're really really old. She was scared that She would die too.

She wanted to know from me if we can come back and be babies again after we die. I told her that different people believe different things. Some people believe we go to a happy place called Heaven, and some people believe that we come back as babies again. Inevitably she asked me what I believed and I said I don't know what happens when we die, but I don't think anything happens. We go back to how it was before we were born, and we are all stardust, and stardust never dies.

She wasn't satisfied with that answer, but we got some books. The "Born with a bang" series, and by the time we finished them she was okay. She was the universe, and the universe was talking to her, but I believe a lot of that went over her head.

Then flash to last night in bed, where out of the blue she starts crying and going on " I don't want to die, I don't want to die" Hysterically sobbing. She was in such severe emotional pain that at that point I could have converted to a religion just to give her some peace of mind around death. But of course I can't.

I don't know where I went wrong. I struggle with death myself. As someone with depression it is something I have thought about a lot. To the point of obsession at times. I don't like that there is nothing after we die. I would love to be reincarnated, or go to some holiday resort in the sky. I just can't be so naive as to think they are real.

So how do I make my daughter feel better about a subject I myself don't like so much  I mean for goodness sake, one of the reasons I stopped smoking was because I fear death so much.

So she screamed and cried, and was so very very upset. Then she asked me if Jesus will bring us back to life again, and we can live again. At that point I was ready to lie, but before I got a word in she was sobbing she doesn't want to die again, so I didn;t say anything and just held her, and told her everything is okay. She is not going to die now. Everything is fine.

Eventually she fell into exhausted sleep. I still don't know what to say though. Obviously she is hearing some upsetting and conflicting things between school and home, and it's causing her great emotional pain. How do I handle that?

17 October 2012


I was just gonna quickly post something to say, I'm changing templates again, so don't be alarmed. Then I typed in the title and thought: "Hmmm. People are gonna expect this to be about something else"

This is a topic I have not even thought about writing on because I just don't really want to discuss it.
Since I stopped smoking a year ago I have gained 30 kg's. That all happened within the first 6 months.

As soon as my weight stabilised, and I stopped gaining, I went on my medication, which I have started to think might be the reason I struggle to lose the weight again.

The other reason is of course that I'm not terribly disciplined, and when you have a very very VERY low budget for groceries, it makes it incredibly difficult, and nearly impossible to actually buy healthy. And anyone that says otherwise would have to come show me exactly how to do it.

I've been to a dietitian in the past and I know the tricks of the trade, but find myself unable to buy what I need in order to stay on the right eating plan.

That's all the excuses out of the way. Now how does it make me feel? It makes me feel ...it makes me not want to feel. I can not describe how lonely and unworthy it makes me feel. For someone who already has self esteem and negative self talk issues, to also have this, has been absolutely unendurable.

It makes me feel that I don't want to leave the house. I don't want to see other people, I don';t want to be out there to be ridiculed  I know what people think, and say. I hate feeling like this. Normally I'd not have such a hard time to lose this weight, but this time around nothing wants to help. I've been on glucophage, such high doses that it messes up my digestive system. That hasn't helped in the least.

If I had the money I'd see a dietitian again, but unfortunately that is out of the question right now. I'm not really looking forward to summer.

In any case. wallowing over. I'm playing around with the looks of the blog. At least that's much easier for me to control. Hope you like it, if not pop me a comment.

15 October 2012

Medication Pro's and con's

This is not a medical blog and I very rarely post any real facts. It's all just opinion and my point of view.
After a long journey to find the right dose of medication I was extremely happy when it happened. I'm on 1mg Fluanxol, and 200mg Epitec.

I've felt quite stable on it, but I had also been seeing a psychologist. Those who've been the meds and psychologist route knows how well it can make you feel to be able to unload every week. To get a good dose of reality check, mixed with pep talk, and some really hard self exploration.

So I want to say meds came first and then came therapy, but I'm not sure. My psychologist is very skeptical of my bipolar diagnosis, and I don't blame him. The Psychologist who saw me before meds is quite convinced about the diagnosis, so a bit of a catch 22 situation.

For the 10 weeks I saw my psychologist I was pretty stable. Had some little lows and one little high, but pretty much stable. I felt okay. I managed to snap out of any moods relatively quickly, I think. My concentration has been getting better. My productivity has been getting better. I have improved in a lot of ways that have little to do with strictly mood, and I'm not sure what the effects of psycho therapy has on actual physical concentration issues.

So all in all one has to say that the medication has had a positive effect, and an actual chemical issue has been, if not solved, at least improved.

The test of Bipolar II in many cases seems to be "If the meds work, then we know for sure" It seems it is a very slippery one to diagnose, especially when, like me, one is on the lower end of the scale. The problem is even the lower end of the scale has a big influence on your life, happiness, and ability to lead a satisfying existence. It influences your relationships and it contaminates every thought.

The problem is I am experiencing some apathy. I've always despised apathy. I just can't seem get out of it, and it is becoming more noticeable  Great when it means I don't go into a really low down down deep depression, but it doesn't seem to be able to completely prevent that. It just prevents me from experiencing Joy and Excitement, and steals my happiness.

I constantly feel just subnormal. If normal was 5, and hypo manic was 10, and deep depression was 0 I feel like I'm on 4, most of the time. I can go up to 7 and I can go down to 3. But it would be an angry 7, I don't seem to be able to do a happy 7. But I am stuck on 4, and have been for some time.

The question I need to ask is: " Is it the medication, or is it my crappy life and history?" My psychologist is convinced it is the second, but like I discussed above, there is proof or at least soft signs, that the medication is there, and is doing some good. Might it not also be that the medication could be having some negative effect. Or is this what normal feels like. Is my natural mood pessimism?

I have heard Bipolar sufferers complain about that exact effect of the medication. I now have to figure things out on my own because my medical aid doesn't pay for more psych visits till next year, and I can't afford any visits either.

I'm trying to take some positive steps to improve my situation. I need to fix some of the big obvious crappy life issues, in order to find some success and happiness. I have worked hard to grow my experience and knowledge, so it might be time to give up on being self employed, and look for an actual paying job. I feel slightly more able to deal with other people,in a work situation, so I am hopeful that this will be a possibility. Unless of course my current workload increases sufficiently to provide for us financially.

These are the thoughts I struggle with at the moment. The apathy is making it more difficult to write as well, so I might be slower with that for a while. I find at least I can fake some enthusiasm with most people, but not myself. I probably just come across as really relaxed, but I can't describe this as relaxation. Inner anxious dialogue is still there. I just don't feel it.

11 October 2012

Losing a Favourite

I don't know about you guys, but I have quite a few sentimental favourites from my younger days. Be it music, movies, books that I loved with a passion when I found it the first time, and some of it I still love today. But every once in a while you re-read a book, or re-watch a movie and thing "What was I thinking"

I guess this has to do with growing up, gaining experience in the world and maturing tastes.

I used to really love Dean Koontz as a fluffy fun read. I'd read some heavy exhausting books in between, but always returned to Mr Koontz. It felt comfortable, reassuring, and fun in his world.  His bad guys were really bad and the good guys were good. But the good always triumphed, in some way, and that was enough for me.

When I met my husband he had such a huge Dean Koontz and Stephen King collection, that I sometimes tease and say I married him for his books.

So what happened?

For the first time in about 7 years I picked up a Dean Koontz book. 77 Shadow street. I'm about 2/3rd s through and am still waiting for an original sentence. 

The characters are one dimensional.  The same crop of characters he always writes. He has every bad guy and every good guy he's ever come up with in one book, but it's still the same ones that he wrote about in other books.

Nothing new happens, but now it is thrown in with a healthy dose of sappiness  and pseudo spiritualism and refutable creationist philosophy . I'm struggling through this book, and wondering what did I ever see in his books? Why did I always look forward to reading a new Dean Koontz. I'm too scared to re-read an old favourite and find out it was always like this, and I just never saw it. Now it's corny and depressingly monotonous. 

I guess we sometimes grow out of our favourites when we grow. I'm gonna miss this one, but this is the last Dean Koontz book I will ever read. I'm a bit sad, but looking forward to new favourites.

It seems that unlike King, he has been stuck in the same formula for so long he just can't grow and come up with new ideas. The only change is the pseudo spiritualism is becoming more and more blatant and in your face. 

No Mr Koontz I am not a bad person just because I choose to put my faith in science instead of myth. There is more to people and life than your one dimensional portrayal of them. There is more to Good and Evil than that. 

In the black and white of the unforgiving Dean R Koontz universe, there is no space for the many facets of grey in this world. It saddens me to know that I'll never be able to curl up and enjoy one of his books again.

08 October 2012

The painful truth of it

I'm trying to name this exact mood I'm in right now. It's on the low side. It's quite tired, a bit numb, but has all the negative self talk.

It's not completely out of control but it's there.

I don't like this particular one.

I know the why of it.

It's hard not to feel this way when, like me, you have had to count penny's for so long you forget what it is like to have enough.

I'm exhausted. It's not something people want to talk about, and it is not something I feel comfortable talking about but we have been living from hand to mouth, and scraping by on pure luck, for so long now.

The unpredictability of my financial situation has a huge influence on my mood. When I have R200 in the bank, and no idea when I will be able to get more, and trying to think how do I make that stretch for as long as possible. Where will I get school fee's from this month? How will I afford my medication, my daughter's medication? Do I buy Petrol or electricity? That's when it is impossible for me to feel upbeat, happy and positive.

It's impossible to explain to anyone without sounding like a charity case though, so I underplay it. I've been trying really hard to work for myself, build up a client base and move forward, but it is happening too slowly.

When do I give up?

I might be there now. I'm sick and tired of living in complete poverty when I have spent 3 years studying, worked my arse off, and am intelligent enough to not be in this situation. What is it that I am missing.

What part of my personality is so flawed that I can't financially sustain us?

I will try for this mood to not get too low, but I know I have no control over it. Unless finances improve it's gonna stick around. And that has nothing to do with Bipolar disorder. No medication helps for a shitty life.

01 October 2012

Books: A Song of Ice and Fire

Also Known as A Game of Thrones, the series A Song of Ice and Fire, has grabbed my attention, and got me hanging onto Mr George R.R. Martin's every word.

If you missed the TV series which started in 2011, go check it out.
The series, A Song of Ice and Fire currently consists of 5 books, and are awaiting 2 to be finished. The first book was released in 1996, and book 5, A Dance with Dragons was released in 2011, but you can find all the details on wikipedia

I had the first 3 eBooks in my extensive eBook library, and picked up book 1 a couple of times, and just couldn't get past page 3 or 4.

I had been struggling since stopping smoking with concentration issues, so it didn't surprise me much. It also just couldn't hook me, even though it starts off in a very gripping way.

Then I saw the series, not knowing it was the same story, but realising half way through that this looks like it is based on a book. Ta Daaa. So after watching both seasons of Game of Thrones this year I decided to challenge myself and pick up A Game of Thrones to see if I could get through it.

It was a difficult choice for the first book to read since my concentration issues reared their ugly heads, but it has been quite a worthwhile journey. Book one and two followed the series, which made it a lot easier to keep track of the multitude of characters and intrigues, and divergent story lines. These are not simple books. They are rich in texture, and filled with a lot of information, but worth the immersion.

By Book 3 I could not put it down, even though I still struggle with attention issues from time to time, I was completely hooked and started dreading reaching the end of book 5 and having to wait for Mr Martin to catch up with writing.

Well I'm busy with Book 5 now, and I am trying to savour every moment. It is tough when one grows so accustomed to a set of characters, to then face losing them as part of your life. I always get a little sad when I finish a series in this way. Harry Potter was the same

One feels a bit like you are drifting and unable to go straight to another book, as you'd be cheating.
So I will sadly finish the series so far, in a couple of days, and I hope Mr Martin will be inspired to finish the next 2 books in super fast time, even though I appreciate that a tour de force of this nature will take a lot of time and effort,

What books do you not want to finish and live without?

27 September 2012

Testing the theory - More parenting

So last week was a tough parenting week for me. I got pissed off because someone called me a weak parent, and I through some toys out of my Parenting cot.

Then I realised, yes I am weak in certain areas, but that doesn't mean I have absolutely no boundaries. When it comes to parenting I am always pushing myself to be the best, so I know I am not a shitty parent, but I also had to admit there are some areas which defeat me.

Forcing my child to go to school being one, and forcing her to wipe her own behind being another.

So since last week I have had her wiping the first wipe by herself. She wasn't really happy about it, but did it. And then over the weekend I guess her dad and I let slip a bit, so yesterday when I told her first wipe is hers she freaked out. Ended up having a 30 min cry fest on the loo, in hysterics because she refuses to do it.

I stuck to my guns but eventually lost my cool and just took her hand in mine and made her wipe herself.
Not sure if it was the right thing, but there's just so much I can take.

Afterwards she was emotionally drained and had to lie on top of me for 30 min, while I comfort and clam her down before being okay enough to sit next to me.

This morning she just made a wee so I didn't think it would be a big deal, but the moment I reminded her first wipe is hers she absolutely freaked out again.

To make a long story short, I ended up dressing her for school and doing her hair while she was on the loo. Eventually I had to wipe her (she was getting late for school) And then she refused to go to school. It was snot and tears, and hiccups, and hysteria, and I knew I could not give in, but it was horrible to experience.

My heart broke for her on one hand, but on the other I had to stop being such a softy and stick to my guns.

So I stuck to them, she didn't want to brush her teeth, so I said, Fine, then we go without brushing teeth. Not putting on shoes? Fine then we go without shoes. Then I carried my 40kg child down the stairs to the car. We had to wait for her dad to pull the car closer, and while we waited she was begging me to please not have to go to school. I stuck to it then, and when she realised she wasn't going to get away with it she suddenly reminded me that we had "forgotten" to brush teeth and put on shoes.

So we quickly got that done. I still had to carry her to the car though. Luckily when she was in there, she started to calm down. Asked for her toy that she could take to school today, and tearfully said "Good bye I will miss you so much Mommy."

Broke my heart but it was done. I'll not kid myself that this will be the last time. I just hope that my resolve will stay strong every time.

I also have to still find out from her dad how it went on school side, but if I take a guess there was probably no issues with getting her into class. Mommy's the sucker it seems, but I guess sticking to your guns has its benefits

I'm just slightly worried that forcing her to wpe together with our old toilet training issues is not the best way to go about it. I don't want to do more harm, and it seems like it's going to be months until i manage to get to a professional about her just because I can't afford it now.

25 September 2012

We Finally Got there

This is a flashback post. Something I wrote in January and never got around to posting here:

Caitlin was probably still a baby when I started researching how to answer the difficult questions. I've been practicing for a long long time. Did my research, but no questions came. She's almost 6 now.

I mean we've done the "you came out of mommy's tummy when the doctor cut you out (TG for A Ceasarean) I'd avoided the Vaginal Birth thing up to now, seeing as she was very upset a while ago after a boy at school told her she came out of my bum. Poor child, she already had such a huge poo phobia.

Lucky for me I had the photo's to prove she was cut out. She'd been quite curious and asked if it hurt and so on, and I just answered her quite honestly. Tried to explain how epidural worked, told her about her birth and how amazing it was.

The Questions I have been waiting for though are the slightly bigger ones, but It's never come up. Death, Where life originated etc.

Last night she asked me
"Mommy where is the people factory?"
"The What Factory"
"The factory where they make people"

So there it was, My big moment, and it was so good. We talked about the fact that people aren't made, people grow. We touched on Vaginal Birth ( I came clean at last) She was quite cool with it. I showed her some cool pictures.

We chatted about evolution and what it is, how it works ( in the most basic terms) She practiced saying the words E-vo-lu-tion, and Homo Sapiens Sapiens. She was quite excited to tell her teacher about it this morning, but seems she forgot the words again so didn't say anything.

So a whole new exciting world has opened up to us both. Hopefully the questions will continue.

21 September 2012

More thoughts on Parenting

I came to some conclusions after sharing this post in a closed FB group and on here. I asked the question If I am a weak parent.

The great thing about thinking things through by writing it down and making yourself accountable to people who are hoenst and gives you good feedback is it gives you the chance to be excruciatingly honest with yourself.

I came to a few conclusions.

Yes, I have been a bit weak in a few things. Wiping your butt and getting dressed is a skill a 6 year old should be able to acomplish by now. I guess I still babied her here, so I will definately need to pay attention to those areas, and I have already started to do it.

She might also be picking up on my uncertainty about some things, or my weaknesses and manipulating me for it.

She picked up on me being sick and not in the mood for fighting, and being unsure if she is sick or not, and it made for a soft stance on going to school from my perspective.

I'll also have to be stronger when it comes to supporting the school rules. I'm very permissive when it comes to things like, playtime, learning time, etc. I find I don't need to set rules about that at home as she easily does things she should by herself. She spends time playing with educational toys, prefers educational TV shows,

We also use a brand of discipline I learnt in Have a New Kid by Friday, byt Kevin Leman.. It is structured and the basics are A doesn't happen if B doesn't happen. If you don't do what is expected of you then you can not have XYZ, rewards.

I prefer a positive approach to discipline. I'm good at sticking to my guns, unless I don't see the import, and I guess the butt wiping and dressing didn't really come onto my radar up to recently.

As for the school issue. I think my Daughter is struggling with being one of many in a classroom situation. She is an only child and used to individual attention. She thrives on it. So with 26 children in a class with one teacher, she must feel a bit neglected. She's also a chatty Cathy and the poor teacher struggles to be able to listen to all the made up stories while having to dish out work and help all the kids. Unfortunately this is a reality of our schooling system.

I would love to home school, but with my issues, and our current situation, financially and physically it just won't work. I'm going to try to spend some time in the holidays to do a bit of unschooling/ homeschooling and see how it goes, but I need to work, she needs to interact with other kids socially, and she needs some adult roll models that are not family.

I'm way too much of a hermit to have confidence in my ability to provide that on my own.

So I have decided to go to the child psychiatrist. Discuss everything with him, see where it leads. I will be very resistant of any kind of diagnosis, and especially drug treatment. I would rather we did some occupational therapy and work on the few areas we have trouble with, for me and her.

Thank you for everyone's feedback

Twitter @Capetown

I'm going to interrupt the whining for a moment to chat about Twitter.
@Capetown on Twitter is turning 5 years old this Saturday 22 September. They are having a tweet fest under the tag of #capeTwitterDay. You can find more info here.

Why am I posting about that? Well they've been one of the very few avenues I use to spread this blog. I'm not big into sharing this with the world. It stays my own musings and I do it more for my own peace of mind and as a way to figure out my own tough questions. But I did decide to start sharing as I feel there is such a huge stigma involved in not only Bipolar, but also in sharing our real honest feelings.
Being imperfect is not a crime, and we all suffer from it.

Anycase. Twitter...hmmm. I tried it. I joined up, I occasionally tweet a bit, but to be honest I am more of a Facebook Girl. I guess the whole feel of FB is just easier for me to navigate.

I see the value in Twitter, and maybe I should try to get on there more, but I just don't have the time, and there is so much one misses if you're not there constantly.

Maybe I just need to try a bit harder, but for now FB is where I stick around.

I do think social media is a great thing. It is breaking down the walls between us all so we start to realise just how similar we are. Everyone has pain, happiness, suffering, love, need. We're all the same inside, just different on top.

Social media has taught me a lot about myself and how I interact with others, both online and in real life. It has also taught me a bit about boundaries. ( Yes we've established mine are a bit soft)

So I say go and use it. Don't abuse, but be part of the world through it.

20 September 2012

Am I a Weak parent?

I'm Quite upset, and this is the only place I could think to write about it. My 6 year old daughter has some issues. She doesn't like school, she refuses to wipe her own butt, and she doesn't want to dress herself. We're also continuously late for school because she doesn't really focus on any given task, and is resistent to getting ready.

Now I brought this up with my psychologist, because the morning of my session she refused to go to school, ( not a first, but a first time I gave in like this) She was crying so heartrendingly, and the only way I was going to get her to go was to actually physically pick her up and force her into the car.

Now she's 1.4m and 40kg's so physically almost impossible to do this, and other than that I put my foot down at physical violence. It seems cruel to me, and as she had been going at it for almost 45 minutes I did give in.

My husband was already late for work.

So my psychologist said I should have physically forced her to go to school. That I allowed her to manipulate me, that it seems to him I am a soft parent because I don't believe in spanking, and because I think it is cruel to manhandle my child.

He is also concerned about the issues I mentioned at first and is sending her for a psych evaluation and thinks she will probably get given an ADHD or Bipolar diagnosis, which he thinks might not be accurate.

I don't feel she's old enough to be labeled, even if something is wrong. I still struggle with my own Bipolar diagnosis some days, because it is a soft diagnosis, and if they come back with one for her I won't allow her to be medicated.

She's bored in school and she has attachment issues with me. I know that. It is most probably my fault because I have so many crappy issues that my boundaries have probably been a bit soft and I am too over protective.

I just feel horrid about this, and decided I'm just gonna have to pull myself together and try to improve my parenting but I WILL NOT manhandle her or spank her. I think discipline is not about pain and suffering. Am I wrong here? Am I so deluded that I am harming my child because I have childhood issues? I know I'm probably overcompensating, but I seriously don't know how not to do that.

In Any case when I got home she was sleeping, which she never does, which is either from being a bit under the weather, and I didn't notice or the emotional exhaustion of a difficult morning, which shows how intensely it affected her as well doesn't it?

I have done an update here

13 September 2012


I don't have very strong ones.

For a long time I had no idea of what boundaries really are. I think if you know me, especially online and have read here, you know my boundaries are very soft.

Wikipedia explains them as follows:

Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify for him- or herself what are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around him or her and how he or she will respond when someone steps outside those limits.[1] They are built out of a mix of beliefs, opinions, attitudes, past experiences and social learning.[2]Personal boundaries define you as an individual, outlining your likes and dislikes, and setting the distances you allow others to approach.[3] They include physical, mental, psychological and spiritual boundaries, involving beliefs, emotions, intuitions and self-esteem.[4] Jacques Lacan considered them to be layered in a hierarchy, reflecting “all the successive envelopes of the biological and social status of the person”[5] from the most primitive to the most advanced.
 After my little breakdown this week and a chat with my psychologist yesterday it once again came to my attention that my boundaries need some enforcing.

I had to deal with a difficult client, who refused to pay me, even though I did absolutely nothing wrong, followed every letter of the law, and tried my best to prepare them for a large bill.

I took it extremely badly and ended up feeling worthless, desolate, and hopeless. For the first time in a very long while I had suicidal thoughts, I felt absolutely useless. I only realised yesterday in therapy that there is absolutely no correlation between a client projecting their own crap onto me, and my abilities.

That's very blurry to me. I take any kind of rejection extremely personally, and half my emotional blocks have been because of that. I hurt so easily.

So now to figure out where it comes from and how to repair my crappy sense of self. No self esteem is so unattractive, and yet I can recognise and discuss it intellectually and still fail to apply it.

I don't have many psych visits left that the medical aid will pay for, and there is no way I can afford any more visits on my own, so I am very scared that I'm going to just revert to old behaviour and thoughts when I don't get my weekly dose of reason. My psychologist is very honest and I have learnt to trust him, even though that's hard for me, and I still hold back sometimes. It feels like we are making progress.

I don't like to see the hurt and pathetic little lost child part of me, but recognising and fixing that is what will bring the healing in all aspects of my life.

10 September 2012

Emotional Blocks

I'm a wreck today. I can't stop crying. It's 10 September and not sure if I'll post this today.

All the scratching in my psyche, by me and my psychologist seems to have loosened my emotional blocks, even though I don't want them loosened.

I used to cry a lot as a child, teenager and young adult. Then life's crap taught me to be tough, so I lost the ability. I guess I built a pretty nifty emotional wall.

Sometimes that's the only way to deal with those hard knocks.

But now. Alas it is coming tumbling down. And even though I know intellectually it's a good thing, I feel very uncomfortable with it.

At the moment I'm a bit sick as well so it is making things worse. All I want is some reassurance from someone that everything will be okay, but it doesn't feel like it ever will.

My life sucks quite a bit, and I struggle to see the good parts. I've had the same problems with finances and being unable to provide for my family for a long long time now, and it feels like I have come to the end of my tether where that is concerned. This is sounding a bit like depression to me, but I feel sad more than depressed. I do feel helpless, and adrift, and I don't like this cracking of the wall.

I feel desperate and alone, and I'm not sure what tomorrow will bring, and it scares the shit out of me to not be in control of anything. Not even my emotions. Especially my emotions.

Bipolar Parenting: from the perspective of the parent

Seeing as I've had it both ways I decided to share my personal thoughts and feelings about this subject. I started with Bipolar Parenting: From the perspective of the child

The way I was parented made me super sensitive to the way that I parent my own child. It still doesn't make it easy.

Any parent will know you don't always know what is the right, healthiest and less damaging course of action, and when you add uncontrollable mood swings to the mix it can becomes super volatile.

I've tried loads of different parenting techniques, discipline techniques, and read a multitude of studies ( mostly contradictory), opinion pieces, personal perspectives, and the like. I still felt completely at a loss of how to raise my daughter to be a great, responsible, honest and loving person.

At the moment I'm focusing more on consistency trying to take the road of more attention and love, while setting guidelines for behaviour. I'm completely anti-spanking, because I believe with my issues that is one of the most harmful things that was done to me as a child.

My daughter could possibly be bipolar herself, although I really don't want to label her this early. She's quite emotionally sensitive and moody herself, and has an extremely strong will. I like her individualism though so I will not break her will. I don't need to always be right as a parent. I want us both to grow and learn from each other.

I also don't want to raise a spoiled brat, but I do think life has ways of sorting those out eventually.

At times when I am emotionally distant I have to be aware and not be unnecessarily cruel in my dealings with both my daughter and husband. It's easier then for me to be dismissive of their feelings and desires, as I am of my own when I am in those moods. I know to watch for this, but it is hard.

At times when I am irritable and frustrated and angry for no good reason I need to have extreme control of my actions, if not my emotions in order for it to not bleed through in my interactions. This is one thing I struggle with greatly.

At times when I'm depressed, and tired and I only want to sleep I really feel sorry for them because they have to try and cope without me. This is hard on me and my daughter. Because negative self talk is a huge part of my extreme depressions, I beat myself up about what a terrible parent I am at these times. There's not much I can do when I'm in it though, so I try my best to prevent the depression by sticking to my drug regiment and routine.

It's challenging to be a parent at the best of times, and even more so when one has to deal with ones own recurring issues. Knowing this now I understand why a lot of people don't think one should have children if one is bipolar. At the same time there is so much I have learnt from being a parent. So much I have grown and loved, that I wouldn't want to exchange that for anything.

Parenting has also brought up a lot of hurt and damage from my own childhood and I struggle to deal with it. This is why I got help, why I'm doing the drugs and getting the therapy. Not all of it is strictly because of bipolar disorder. A lot of it is other issues, and all of it goes way back, and most of it I'd prefer stayed buried. I don't want to be stuck in the past, I don't want to live a life where I keep blaming my parents or my childhood. I want to move forward, and live and be happy. It seems I need to get through the crappy past before I can do that though.

All of this inspires me even more to be the best parent that I can be. To read, put in the effort, research, figure out what is best for my child and do everything I can to not be a crappy messed up parent, despite the Bipolar Disorder.

03 September 2012

All is Choice Part2 :Time is running out

Do you often get the idea time is running out? I get a fright every time I realise how old I am (36) I get a fright because I don't own a house, I'm not financially independent, and I've not saved up for my old age.

I feel guilty because I have obviously wasted time somewhere. It's not like I've partied away my life either, it's just that for most of it I have been frozen in fear.

I guess it;s the fear of failure. The fear of making the wrong choice. So I try to rather make no choice which leads to stuckness.

I started touching on the issue of choice in a pretty superficial dissection of my thoughts about it back in September last year in "All Is Choice part 1" 

At that time my thought processes were much different that they are now. My beliefs were different. I was convinced of some kind of supernatural aspect to life, which I'm not at the moment.

Back then I still believed that "everything happens for a reason"
I find no universal reason, truth or meaning anymore. I've been disillusioned. Which just means my illusions have dissipated.

So the issue of choice, in this only one life, in this usually cruel and senseless world, where things don't always happen for a reason, becomes even more important. We sometimes forget we do have a choice. We unconsciously make a choice to not choose. It feels safer in our comfort zones, no matter how unhappy we are in there.

I fear making the wrong choice. Shortly after I started this blog I gave myself permission to change my mind. I seemed to have forgotten about that. It was such a relief at the time. Now I need to give myself permission to be wrong.

Mistakes happen. We can make the wrong choice, and sometimes we can fix it, and sometimes we can't. It's time for me to try and keep that in perspective and save what I can of this life. What a waste of a perfectly good existence to watch it pass away stuck in fear, and too scared to live it.

29 August 2012


What I strive for in this blog and in life in general is both intellectual and emotional honesty.

Do I always succeed? I don't know? You'll have to be the judge of that. And feel free to call me out on it. It's an attempt. It's hard to figure out all the unconscious influences we experience day to day. In order to integrate them we do need to become aware of them, and the best way I've ever been able to do that is to either recognise it in others, or have it pointed out to me.

I never just ignore a criticism, be it valid or invalid. It may be hard but I usually try to think about it and be honest with myself. Now the trick is in the honesty with yourself. It's easier to lie to ourselves than to others. In my experience that is. Unless you're a really good public liar I guess.

I struggle to lie to others. My face gives it all away I think, but it's easier for me to lie to myself, and believe it. So one has to be able to admit not only those intellectual faults, but also those yukky emotions.

The hidden dark creepy ones that we don't even want to examine. I struggle a bit there. Intellectual is easier than emotional to me. I usually subdue those feelings, and that leads to withdrawing from those around me. Joking about it is a good way. The way I joke about my super dysfunctional family. Worst is when I just struggle to interact with either my husband or my daughter. I just feel blank. No emotion. Can't be good for her. Can't be nice for him.

Emotionally withdrawing from emotionally damaging situations is okay. Getting so emotionally blunted that one withdraws from those you love, is not okay. I've done the latter. I still do occasionally. I don't know how to stop it yet.

I've had to emotionally withdraw from damaging situations so often that I now do it even when it's not needed. When you subdue your emotions all the time it becomes harder to face up to them, to let them out. To cry, to laugh, to allow yourself to be angry (without projecting onto others)

Thankfully we're addressing this in therapy. I hope that allows me to deal more honestly with those things I feel uncomfortable about.

I often push beyond the discomfort, but I have the sneaky suspicion I'm still protecting myself from a lot of nasty emotions. Things I feel guilty about, things I feel angry about, things I don't like about myself.

Hopefully I can work through it somehow. This blog seems to be one of the ways to get in touch with it.

22 August 2012

Answer to Education and Children

This comes from a friend of mine who is South African but currently lives in Germany. I thought she gave me some good advice and so I wished to share it with you guys who feel like I do in the Education and Children post:

"Read your blog link regarding the school and religion...Am not a parent, but from the perspective of myself as primary school kid, i.e. your daughter's current position, my answer to "what is a parent to do" would be:

Don't waste time and energy trying to fight the school into changing all that religious crap. You are not going to win, because as you said, they cannot see it, so what dragon’s head you cut off today will grow back somewhere else tomorrow. Except if they target her directly and try to "convert" her or something, then of course you have to step in, but in the case of participating in a religious song that no one thought twice about including, it is sadly a matter of majority rules, and the majority of parents probably did not mind...

Caitlin herself is the point where your vigor should be focussed. Of course teachers and peers can do loads of damage, and lots of things happen that are outside your sphere of influence, but the more solid the education she gets at home in these matters, the less susceptible she will be to the outside.

I believe all a potential freethinker needs is someone to tell them „It is OK to think free“. Hey, you and I both went through all that crap at school and at home and turned out good fine atheists, didn’t we? But if someone had told little me that the fact that she thought everything they said at Bible Studies and in the church sermons and in Sunday school sounded utterly unlikely is perfectly OK, it would have saved me a lot of soul-searching and feeling lost, alone and different. I went to Kinderkrans from around 3-years old and my parents were both Sunday school teachers. As a pre-schooler I wasted no thought on religion, it was just nice stories, I don’t think my mind made much difference between Maya the Bee on TV and the story of Noah in the Bible. In primary school and Sunday school that changed, now we had tests on that stuff and had to listen (and believe). And it never really rang true to me, and first and foremost I found it utterly boring, whereas everyone around me seemed to be so enthralled... I believed if I prayed really really really hard to God to come into my heart, the way they said in Sunday school, it will all make perfect sense next week and I will have as good a time as the rest of the starry-eyed bunch.

Nope, didn’t happen. Next Sunday I still thought the preacher talked bollocks. I can more or less put an age on it, cause in third grade there was a contest where you could win a Bible, you had to collect small change from friends and family for charity and the kid who brought in the most got the Bible. I thought if I did so dilligently, God will finally come into my heart. I did not get much pocket money but all I had went into that donation tin. And I got the Bible. And instead of feeling more religious or believing in it all, I was just very relieved, because I knew my winning would blind my parents and teachers into believing I was an excellent young Christian for a good while, so for a while I could worry a tad less about someone noticing that I am not one of them. But I wouldn’t call myself an atheist at that stage, I guess I did believe in God, I just thought he did not want anything to do with me... The thought that perhaps he is simply not there and that it could be OK to think that never crossed my mind. Even all through high school, the Bible never made sense but I always believed the problem was on my side, because surely if everyone around me including all figures of authority believed in it, it must be true and there must be something wrong with me?

Actually it was only as I reached film school that I realized not everyone bought the whole Bible thing lock, stock and barrel. Not that there were much discussions about it, but a comment here or there made me realize „I am not alone“. And then of course coming to Europe and living my ex’s family who were also not religious opened my eyes to a whole different world, one where it is simply not an issue. And I would have loved to have that as a child.

You are in the position to give your daughter that. Of course she will experience some confusion when her teacher tells her something else, or her peers go all „Jesus this and Jesus that“, but you have the power to tell her that those things are as imaginary as any of the fiction books you read to her. That is is just stories. That some people believe those stories are real, but other people believe other stories (here you can introduce some other religions and their anecdotes, including that religions come and go – see Greek mythology, Egyptian gods, etc.). Maybe you can find some age-appropriate introductory books to archaeology – I knew I was always riveted with the idea of all those people who lived so long ago – and was very confused about the topic of their gods, cause if you go by the Bible, they lived somewhere between Adam and Eve and us, so why did God let them believe in their „heart of hearts“ that those other gods were real if he could’ve „saved“ them too by letting Jesus make his visit to Earth a tad earlier? Your Daughter has the priviledge of being raised by someone that can introduce her to all those scientific topics without raising a bunch of questions that are just brushed off with „God’s ways are mysterious to us humans“. 

Give her the relaxed atmosphere of it being a non-issue, instead of having to cringe every time her mommy has a go at the teacher for doing something religious – that might put her in the spotlight in her class in ways she would not like or might not be able to handle well. Would you mind her performing a song from Lion King or mind her taking part in a performance of Little Red Riding Hood? Fairy tales etc. usually have some kind of moral or important „lesson to learn“ in them, like „don’t run off with strangers“ – you can also teach her that the stories in the Bible have morals that can be good to follow – like helping others, or whatever, but that just as „not talking to strangers“ is not limited to big, nasty wolves, the morals in the Bible that are worth following do not come parcelled with having to be religious and believing you have to do them because God will punish you, but because they are good common sense. And if she knows that the religious song is just as fictitious as the one about Humpty Dumpty or whatever, she can dance and sing along without being harmed by its indoctrination.

If she has questions as to why it is like that at the school, and why they have to do all those things if they are fictitious, you can tell her something along the lines of „when in Rome do as the Romans do“ – If you guys had lived in a Hindu area, where all schools involved some Hindu teachings, and the only options were no education or going along with those rituals, she’d had have to do those things. Am not suggesting raising her to believe she has to conform all the time, that it is wrong to be different – not at all. But if she goes to one of her soccer games, she has to go certain things that go with the game, like kicking the ball with her feed instead of grabbing it and running with it like in Rugby – even though she might feel like running with it. And she has to wear the appropriate soccer uniform, even if she might feel like wearing some specific dress that day or might not like the colour of the uniform. So in all those small and little things, we all conform to get a certain result that we want – either to have the fun of the soccer game, or in the case of school to get a good education. In all that, she is still free to prefer wearing clothes in other colours when she is home, and in spite of not making a great issue out of not believing the stuff her teachers say, she is still free to think whatever she wants... I think when explained with analogies like that, children her age are perfectly capable of understanding the difference between playing along with the „rules of the game“ and losing your own identity by conforming.

If you give her that relaxed atmosphere and confidence that she can ask you anything about religion when she is puzzled by her friends and teachers, I believe the school can’t do much harm. And if in spite of that thorough preparation, the religious activities at school are enough to turn her into a „true Christian“, then there really is nothing you can do about it, then it is her choice – but it will be an informed choice, not like the childhood we had.

I thought this was great advice from someone who knows what our schools are like, and one of the few atheist friends I have. I will try my best to relax about this issue, and try to follow this advice

20 August 2012

Education, and children

Lets start with a bit of background. In South Africa among especially Afrikaans people, religion has become entrenched and mixed up with culture. It is assumed, expected and accepted that you are church going. If not church going, you are a Christian in some way, or refer to yourself as Christian. Probably a little bit like the US Bible Belt.

In schools it is accepted that you don't mind bible stories and christian songs being taught to your children. That there will always be some reference to Christianity in all things, and no parent will mind it. Prayer in school is okay, and children can really be ostracized if they do not take part.

If you're not a christian it is assumed you are a satanist, or somehow evil. Atheist is a swear word.

I posted about my inner turmoil when I had to fill in the school's application form here

At the beginning of the school year I went to the teacher and told her in no uncertain terms that we are not religious and don't want Caitlin to be exposed to any Indoctrination.

The problem with that is the Christian inability to recognise their own indoctrination. They can not differentiate between what is educational and what is indoctrinating, because they can not recognise their own indoctrination from a young age.

So this brings me to two disturbing things, and my frustration around them

Two nights ago we had the Grade R concert, and our kids were lovely. They danced and sang to a ton of really funky Afrikaans pop music, and it was adorable. But then the second last song was religious and I felt sick. Was it really necessary to put that in there?

I'd like to complain but I know I would be seen as petty. This is the huge problem I have with the Afrikaans culture. I should not have to constantly be undoing damage done by her EDUCATORS. It's enough that I have to be constantly vigilant to damage done by her peers.

I wanted to change her to an English class for next year, but was told they prefer children to receive teaching in their mother tongue, and wouldn't believe me when I said we are bilingual. They then claimed the English classes for next year are full.

So what is a parent to do. I am getting really frustrated with this constant battle. Just when I think my wishes are being met, our laws regarding religions in school are pushed to the utmost boundaries, and I have to clean up the damage to ensure my child grows up a free thinker. Yes, this is turning me anti-religious, which I haven't really been before having a child.

Update: a Friends gave me some good advice on this here 

15 August 2012

Guilt and Paranoia

I hate this Irritable Hypo-manic frigging mood I am in right now. Fuck it I thought the meds were working.

I'm responsible though. I worked all long weekend, I've been pushing myself beyond what I should know are my tiny limits of how much stress I can handle.

It starts of with me feeling a little irritated, and snapping at either my dad or my husband. I then make the situation worse because everyone is already pissed off at me for being irritated, and it feels like they keep on picking at me, they keep hassling, they keep demanding. (This is my skewed perception) No one leaves me alone so I get more irritated. Every encounter is filled with irritation. everything anyone does or says gets to me. There is no relief.

Then I start drifting off. My attention goes. I just managed to put in a lot of concentrated hours with work, so I notice the difference. I sit and stare at my PC screen. I drift off wile I drive staring at one spot in the road. I can't read. I'm still agitated and my mind goes at a 100 miles a minute thinking of all the things I am pissed of at. I get so angry. I see injustices perpetrated upon me. Everyone is out to screw me, use me, abuse me. They're all conspiring to just drive me insane. I know this isn't true. But it feels like it is. I notice that I'm uncertain of whether it is truth or paranoia. At least I am that self aware.

I warn my husband that I'm hypo-manic, but he doesn't know what to do with the info, and seeing as I am doing all the things I think others are doing to me ( picking on him, taking my mood out on him) He also struggles to not return fire with fire.

It affects my daughter who starts acting out, which makes it more difficult for me to keep my cool. I find myself grinding my teeth. Biting my tongue. Making fists, doing anything in my power to not explode, to not hit a wall with my fist, to not scream.

My mind is hyperventilating and my body is itching on the inside. I stay up way to late because I am so angry and I struggle to switch off. I have to put on a sane face when I leave the house. I have to put on a smiley mask, and by this stage it's usually showing some cracks, so I find myself losing boundaries and venting to people I don't really know.

I eventually try to apologise to my husband, but he struggles to accept it. I feel guilty. I feel horrible, I wish there was a switch. I feel angry that he can't see that I'm not in control. I can't control this. I pushed myself too hard in an effort to earn the money we need. In an effort to take responsibility for everything no one else wants to take responsibility for. I keep forgetting that I can't handle stress like other people can and I am under a huge amount of stress.

My psychologist said I can reduce my stress levels by more than half by moving out of my fathers house, and I know that is true, but trying to get to the point of earning enough money in able to do this is killing me in other ways.

What to do?

I hope I don't hit depression after this... I usually do.

13 August 2012

Light at the end of the tunnel

In the last month and a bit since I wrote anything I've been down and very very up, and then went slightly insane with anger, and then found balance.

Wow what a month. I didn't even realise it all only happened in 4 weeks. It felt like 4 months. I went into this deep dark, really disturbing depression. All I kept thinking of is how horrible I am, how worthless, how pathetic. How this world would be a better place without me. I constantly thought of death. Even when the thoughts weren't suicidal, which wasn't often. I thought of death and dying, and how wasted this world is when we die we just die. Nothing else, and how I was wasting this little bit of day, which is my life.

Then the Psychiatrist said to up the dose of Epitec and lets see how quickly we could do it, as I had been struggling since March to get to 200 mg, and was only at 125mg.

So immediately when I hit 175 I hit happy high. Extraordinary when you've been in the dark for so long. Ecstasy  happiness, fanfuckingtastic. But all the while I was slightly scared of coming down again. I was aware that I was way too high for it to be healthy. Then I hit angry manic. The worst kind. The happy high lasted exactly 2 days and then the person who is my worst trigger, my father, triggered me (more about him in another post)

I stabbed myself int he thigh with car keys in an explosion of viscious uncontrollable insane anger. It was that or hit him with the fist. I felt horrible. I felt like a complete asshole. I knew I crossed a line somewhere in my mind. I submitted to all the years of parental conditioning and became an abuser. My walls crumbled. The cracks were showing. No more control.

Luckily since I'm on 200mg I have been slightly more in control again, but there's been flames of anger. I just walk away though. I also started seeing a godless heathen psychologist. It's been tough but we're making progress. Unfortunately I only have 7 visits left with him because of my medical aid. I'll have to make the most of it. He says with my alcoholic father and my narcissistic mother he is surprised I actually turned out this well. That just makes me sad. I cry a lot when I'm with him. And gosh I am not a crier. Maybe it's good to cry for a change.


Ps. As I re-read this I realise I screwed up badly this weekend. I worked all of it and am a bit edgy. I'm so scared of going into the angry manic again, Trying my best to snap out of it, but we all know how little that helps. Gonna try and de-stress somehow but my life at the moment is too full of stressful situations

09 July 2012

Meaning out of the Meaningless

I am just an average human being, with a less than average life. Not amazing in any way. In all my 36 years on this planet in this existence I have not experienced or seen anything that has convinced me without any doubt that there is meaning to this existence other than what we create for ourselves.

Once again Science is trumping superstition and it is quite probable the Higgs Boson has been found What does this mean to our understanding of this world? This is the third of four pieces by Lawrence Kraus, theoretical physicist and professor of physics.

I quote: "If these bold, some would say arrogant, notions derive support from the remarkable results at the Large Hadron Collider, they may reinforce two potentially uncomfortable possibilities: first, that many features of our universe, including our existence, may be accidental consequences of conditions associated with the universe’s birth; and second, that creating “stuff” from “no stuff” seems to be no problem at all—everything we see could have emerged as a purposeless quantum burp in space or perhaps a quantum burp of space itself. Humans, with their remarkable tools and their remarkable brains, may have just taken a giant step toward replacing metaphysical speculation with empirically verifiable knowledge. The Higgs particle is now arguably more relevant than God.

The last vestiges of supernatural and superstitious thinking is being disproved by hard scientific facts every day. So can we find meaning in belief in something our rational minds say is foolish fantasy? Is it okay to pretend belief in something one thinks of as foolish fantasy.

Are there other ways of finding meaning. Yes. The spectacular accident that is earthly life and consciousness, awareness and experience, in itself is meaning.

On a personal level I'm not quite there yet. I strive to get there. I know such meaning exists for many, but for now I feel like I am still drifting in a void of meaningless life. Where one foot is set in front of the other, but it is more out of necessity than any desire and inspiration.

I do blame my mental illness for that. For right now I am still searching. I once thought I had found my meaning and it was a nice warm fussy happy comfortable feeling. I hope I find that again, even though science and facts seem so hard and cold. What is truth really. What is the subjective truth of my own life. Will it all be for nothing. Ashes blown away by another wind.

In the greater scheme of things the chances are humanity will one day blow away and be ashes in the wind like the dinosaurs before us. Our time in existence is short, and already running out due to our treatment of our only current home.

So how does one find meaning in a life which is only part of a larger meaningless exercise. Stardust moving on?

14 June 2012

Finding a precise moment

I'm trying to find an exact moment where things started to go downhill for me.
Psychology wise.

I've been depressed before. I've been moody, I've been really down. But it was occasional. It wasn't so completely pervasive as it is right now.

I don't want to be unhappy but I am enormously so. I want to be happy. I want to be relaxed, I want to enjoy life, my child, my family, my work.

I want to feel anything except irritation, sadness, tiredness, hopelessness.

Those are the things I am currently experiencing pervasively. No amount of pretending changes it. Where previously I spent most of my time happy and some of the time not so happy, I am now most of the time in some kind of depression or mixed state, and occasionally... almost never as it only happens so briefly for an hour or so, I may feel some relief. Mostly it's just less of it. Never none of it.

Intellectually I know it is clinical, and I need the medicine to help, but it takes time. Emotionally I still try my best to do things I enjoy hoping I will "wake up" from this dreariness. Nothing is working.

So I carry on. I stick to my routine, I take the pills, I try to insulate those around me from what I am experiencing. It's hard but I try to carry on.

So where did it go wrong? Where and why did the switch happen? I'm not sure. Obviously a large part of it happened when I stopped smoking. Even before that I was going downhill though.

I spent a lot of time ill, and in bed, and recovering from one illness after another. I spent a lot of time depressed, even though I wasn't as angry and frustrated, and mentally violent. I did spend a lot of down days before stopping smoking.

Stopping smoking just brought on more mixed states, less memory, more concentration issues, and a lot of weird mental effects.

I used to feel quite secure in my spirituality. I was growing a lot and feeling happy while I was there. But then my intellectual honesty took over and I started questioning everything. I think In PART; and I know it will be incredibly tempting for everyone to write of my questioning superficially as a whole, as an effect of this, but really in Part, it took on form and structure with the death of a friend's 4 year old son.

It shook me, and all the subconscious questions, all the doubts, all the critical evaluations that always felt uncomfortable, but that used to be easily subdued, came to the forefront. It just didn't make such easy prosaic sense anymore. Any soft thinking became lies. Christianity I gave up on in my early twenties, but spirituality in itself was still a priority. But as the questioning grew, so I moved away from that

I still wanted it to make sense but it didn't. And then depression also hit at the same time, because this little boy is gone, and his mother and family is in perpetual pain. They are living and trying to survive something so painful, I tear apart every time I think of it. Even now, more than a year and a half later.

That's still not it though. That's still not the beginning. It seems to have happened so slowly I can't put my finger on it. All I know is that what I am going through now is bringing up so much pain and anger I feel like I am drowning. When I allow myself to really immerse in it I almost sink away. I try to only take little bites, but it is so all consuming I want to hide away from it. It seems that every single embarrassing, or painful, or horrible memory I have is surfacing again. Even the ones I dealt with, or thought I had dealt with.

Has my life been so crap? I don't think it has, but somehow I keep going back to the past these days. There seem to be way too many regrets and a ton of what ifs that weren't there before. I hope they go away again. And soon.

06 June 2012

Bipolar Parenting: from the perspective of a child

I'm always slightly scared of writing here about my family and  childhood. As far as I know no one in my family knows about this blog, and I hope it stays that way.

For some fluke reason I seem to be the only one in the whole extended family who believes in sharing everything in order to heal, and be open and honest.
I love open intense dialogue. Even when it is painful. I believe you need to address rather than cover up. Alas I am the only one. So the quickest way I will alienate whatever family remains close to me after the "atheist thing" is for them to actually stumble across this blog.

I once voiced my disagreement about spanking on Facebook, mentioning that I know what it did to me as a child, and how harmful it was. Within a day I got the rudest most insulting and heartrendingly cruel letter from my younger brother accusing me of badmouthing our parents online, and how I had to remove it immediately or face the unmentionable consequences.

It was an extremely hurtful letter. It made me realise I just can't be open and honest around my family. Not if I want to keep some measure of self respect. Of course there is a large possibility that every one of my family falls somewhere on the bipolar spectrum.

My Mother always had severe mood swings. So bad, I actually recognize her in my unmedicated moods now. She even admitted it, blaming it on hormones. As far as I know: and remember this is a family who kept such personal things strictly secret, she went to many doctors about her "hormones" went on many drugs for it too.

Not much worked. I know. I was there. She knew though. It didn't help her control it, but my brother , who was 2 years younger than me (not the letter writer) used to be able to defuse her quite brilliantly.

I never was. I was always the serious one. The drama queen, the emo one. If I knew about cutting at that stage I'm sure I would have gone that route. I did enough other typical self destructive things.

My parents were young, damaged themselves, and unable to really cope emotionally with us three. I think when the little one came along it might have been a bit easier on them as he was further removed in age from us, but it must still have been a challenge.

I felt neglected my whole childhood. I felt damaged, and I felt ill parented. I have no idea of that was true, but that was how I felt

I used to read parenting advice in magazines and ask my mother to please rather try that. Which never happened. Her moods controlled everything.

There were many good days as well, but I still carry the damage. The damage I carried is what has made me so aware of what I pass on to my own child.

04 June 2012

Down down down down again

I've been planning a post on Motherhood and Bipolar disorder. From the perspective of the child and the parent. It's still being formulated in my head.

Today I'm having a very down day. I'm in a lot of physical pain as well. I've been on the slightly low side of normal for a while now, but not anything bad enough to prevent me from functioning. But today is bad. Yesterday I spent most of the day alone, feeling tired. Thought I might be coming down with something. But today I am feeling sooo heavy and down and low and full of doom and gloom, in pain and unable to move. So I'm coming down with a little dark bout of depression.

I've been on 100mg Epitec for a month now, and we were gonna check it out before deciding to move up, but I emailed the psychiatrist now to say I think we need to move it up.

This is the danger zone. I might think I am fine there, I won't do anything irresponsible, but the doomy thoughts are not good. Gotta get out of the danger zone. You find comfy spots there. A Kind of sulky hide away where you don't have to talk or think or be. It can get comfy but it sucks you in until there's no way of getting out easily.

I don't want to be sucked in today so am trying to just fake it till I feel better. I need to get out of this Danger Zone.

16 May 2012

Astrology & Bipolar II

"Never again will you have a mental picture of a Libran as a calm, perfectly balanced, sweet, gracious and charming individual You'll have a mental picture of a person who has that kind of disposition half the time. The other half of the time, Libra can be annoying, quarrelsome, stubborn, restless, depressed and confused. Libra is first up, then down. He swings one way, then another. Suddenly, like the scaels-perfect balance! It's heavenly. But there is always that period of weighing and dipping before the moment of heavenly balance is achieved."

That is the kind of drivel I used to believe. Astrology made it all sound so simple, Of course my energy ebbs and flows. I'm a Libra. Occasionally I am full of energy, hyper productive, incredibly social. Full of self confidence, and magnanimous, Amazing, Spectacular. Outgoing, Fun fun fun. 

Then I get tired. I need to sleep. I feel heavy, slow, sad, irritated, frustrated. I go crazy with bad self talk. I am depressed. I am low, I am stuck. I feel sick, I feel pain. I can't move. I can't focus, I think too much but it's all bad thoughts. Negative, self loathing. Hurtful.

But it's okay because I am a Libra and I will feel better again. I am just struggling to find my balance. Because when the scales are balanced I am so grown up. I am responsible, I can handle stress quite well. I go easy on myself, am loving forgiving, compassionate. I'm not only a Libra I am a Sage with priest casting. Everything is explained.

  • Positive Traits:
     Articulate, Colorful, Dramatic, Entertaining, Enthralling, Expressive, Friendly, Fun-loving, Humorous, Informative, Inquisitive, Knowledgeable, Light-hearted, Perceptive, Storyteller, Verbose, Wise

  • Negative Traits:
     Arrogant, Bag of Wind, Deceptive, Demands Attention, Drama Queen, Egocentric, Gossipy, Hogs Conversations, Intrusive, Loud, Oratorical, Overblown Sense of Entitlement, Sleazy, Tactless Bore, Tasteless
  • Positive Traits:
     Caring, Compassionate, Guiding, Enthusiastic, Healing, Humanitarian, Inspirational, Nurturing, On a Mission, Visionary, Spiritual

  • Negative Traits:
     Evangelical, Fanatical, Feverish, Impractical, Irrational, Proselytizing, Visionary Blindness, Vague, Unthinking, Zealous
And yes, the experts in both these disciplines will quickly say I am explaining them incredibly superficially. The thing is this is what has kept me from getting help. Would things have been better if I got help sooner? Would my life have been more successful if I realised I had been depending on and taking advice from people who were as damaged as I was? 

I'm busy reading a book called "Why am I still depressed" and I am learning a lot I didn't know. Especially about the whole Bipolar spectrum.

I'm a little bit angry, because I had been exhibiting a lot of the known Bipolar II or soft bipolar symptoms for as long as I remember. Why did my first psychiatrists 12 years ago never pick it up? Why didn't I?

I could be dead right now because of a wrong diagnosis, and even after I attempted suicide on Anti-depressants, which is one of the major warning signs, I was still treated for the wrong things. I guess I need to get over this anger and blame as well as self blame, but I am treating it as a grieving process.

It feels like I have to question every thought and emotion right now to make sure it's not a "crazy" thought. Is it me, or is it bipolar. Or am I, the me I have known forever, and have grown and am. Am I wholly formed by my unbalanced brain chemicals. Is everything I have ever loved, disliked, or thought and done only due to my brain chemicals, and seeing as they're not working so well, does that mean I'm completely wonky, and shouldn't trust myself in any way.

That's what I am dealing with right now. I am mentally Ill, and all I see is the bad parts of that illness.

Apparently there is a bipolar gene, when if only slightly activated only causes greater creativity and good stuff, and when more prevalent causes more and more bipolar symptoms. Negative symptoms. I guess I should be glad I'm not on the highest point of the spectrum.

Right now I am slightly doubting the efficacy of the meds though, and also asking myself how long will they be effective for.

I'm a bit low, as I am sure is evident. I hope to get out of here again soon. I am having dreams and nightmares about friendships I have lost. Be it due to my own fault or the other person. Asking myself if it was due to Bipolar. Would things have been easier or better handled had I known my mood swings had a different explanation. That I get irritated when I am in a mixed episode. Friends I have loved Would they have been more understanding?

I don't know and I guess the only way forward is to look ahead, use the tools I have now and try not to fuck up anymore

Ps. Incredible how inspired one is to write a blog post when one is supposed to be studying.