Browsing Tag

mental health

Expressive, Mental Health, Photography as Vocation, Writing

Working on Me

Yesterday and today, I’ve been doing some internal housekeeping. I rarely look at them anymore, but I felt compelled yesterday morning to get out the journals I kept from my last inpatient stay at the Local Friendly Mental Ward. For the most part, the theme of my journals was outwardly-centered:  I was worried about other people, not myself.  In fact, I could not concentrate at all on myself, as if it was a defense mechanism against falling apart completely. That’s a theme of what happens when I go psychotic:  I worry too much about other people, with pretty much no worry at all about what’s going on inside myself. It happened when I was 17:  I was worried about a good girlfriend. It happened when I was 18:  I was worried about a boyfriend. It happened when I was 19:  I was worried about another good girlfriend. It happened when I was 28:  I was worried about my employer. It happened when I was 30:  I was worried about yet another girlfriend and my employer. That’s the run-down, simplified.  There were side scenarios I was worried about each time as well, but above were the triggers.  Stress from worry made […]

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depression, Mental Health, Writing

Caroline’s New and Improved 10-Point Mood Scale

The last time I was admitted to the outpatient program of the Local Friendly Mental Ward, I composed a 10-point mood scale to be used daily, to pinpoint where I am emotionally and what I can do each day to help manage my day. For the last several months, that mood scale has sat on my nightstand doing nothing, untouched. It occurred to me this morning that this document should be no different than my journal, or this blog, even.  For it to be relevant, the 10-point mood scale has to be a living document.  So, I revised it.  Feel free to modify for your own use!  The revision follows. Caroline’s 10-Point Mood Scale 0 = Depressed = Suicidal. Hopeless. Tearful. Angry. Sleep all the time. Tense.  High or low appetite.  Lethargic.  Irritable.  Difficulty concentrating.  Call Therapist.  Call Psychiatrist.  Call someone else safe and familiar with situation.  Go to ER….all viable options.  Do something healthy to distract, like knitting, or petting the cat, or watching TV, or finding inspirational sayings.  Journal.  Get through the moment…it will pass.  There is hope! 1 = Depressed = Hopeless. Tearful.  Sleep all the time. Angry.  Tense.  High or low appetite.  Lethargic.  Irritable.  Difficulty concentrating..  […]

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Mental Health

5 Things Not to Say to Me about My Mental Illness

I’ve resisted writing a list like this for a long time, but I’m in a ranting mood right now.  So, here are some of the things I’ve hated hearing over the years about my bipolar disorder: 1.  “Have you taken your meds today?”  This one is tricky.  Close family and very, very close friends have my permission to help monitor for signs that my illness is going awry and not taking my medicine can be a sign that my particular illness is affecting me negatively.  But it’s a wholly inappropriate question from a random person who comes across my writing.  We’ve had a discussion about it if you have my permission to speak like that to me. 2.  “You’re just whining about your life.  Get over it.”  I had this one as a comment once on this blog.  It shocked me, the ignorance that the brief note showed.  Bipolar disorder is not a contrived illness and most of us who are unfortunate e nough to be diagnosed with it would gladly lose the label and “whine” away.  It’s not just about having a bad day. 3.  “Everybody has ups and downs.  Are you sure you’re not normal?”  This came from […]

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Uncategorized

New Routines

It’s been a long (and a little scary) week, but things are better now.  I’ll be getting back to my routine, a new routine, starting tomorrow, at home with my boys. As I said on Facebook yesterday, I sure do love my family.  That’s all I’ll say about them for now. I had appointments with both my psychiatrist and my therapist this week and they thought I am doing “fantastically well,” as my therapist put it.  My pdoc told me to remember that I am a human being and that my illness is just something I deal with, so he wants me to stop going to two therapists.  That means no more visits to the Local Friendly Mental Ward aftercare; he thought I should just go to my normal group therapy and for individual with my normal therapist.  I’m okay with that, though I will miss the therapist at the hospital. I’ve been doing a lot of knitting this week, with size 4 needles and small yarn and the shortest little circular needles I’ve ever seen.  It’s different to not pop out a project within a few hours as I’ve been working on the same little hat all week long […]

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Mental Health

Help is Out There

This is an R-rated post.  Teens should be supervised when reading what follows. September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Awareness Day.  I am not waiting until Saturday to start writing about it because this topic deserves much attention. If you are having suicidal thoughts, please call 1-800-273-TALK.  If need be, do not hesitate to call 911 or go to your nearest hospital emergency room.  There are trained professionals who will take you seriously and support you.  There is always hope.  Hope always returns. In honor of my own struggle with depression and bipolar disorder, I’ve decided to write about my own suicide attempt.  I hope my ponderings here will help someone.  There is help out there.  There is hope even when it seems like hope will never, ever appear again. It’s been a long time since I talked about this publicly.  My treatment team members have always been aware of my attempt; I started talking about it in therapy right after it happened.  I’ve gone through fits and starts of denial that it happened but yes, it did happen.  I’ve whispered it a couple of times to people in conversation when it was appropriate.  But this is one of those […]

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Mental Health

Poem by 17- and 31-Year-Old Caroline

(I wrote the original parts of this piece in October or November of 1996, after my first psychotic episode.) She was all alone, She felt a deep, painful loneliness when she was young, Doing well in school came easy to her. By the time it happened she was a mediocre student. They took her to a doctor They took her to a psychiatrist And made her stick out among peers. She was unique. Some thought she was weird That part is still true but she no longer cares No one had anything to do with her. After most psychotic episodes, no one had anything to do with her.  People don’t know what to say and it’s scary and it’s just easier.  Besides, that’s what therapists are for.  Some friends plain out disappeared forever, on purpose.  Most folks don’t realize or really care that she needs normalcy and distraction and friends because people she’s met in mental hospitals are CRAZY.  Two of them died, Two of the people who seemed to care the most died, The first at the end of one era Her grandmother died toward the end of her innocence When she was too young to realize What life does to […]

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