Left adrift, but found our way

sailboat

Looking back at my childhood through my mid 20s, I suppose one could say that compared to other youth, I was mostly left adrift. I think my siblings were, as well. My parents were the opposite of “helicopter parents” in that they did not control our every move. In fact, they did not control much of what we did. They provided us with a nice home, and good food to eat. They took us on weekend and other excursions. They did teach us right from wrong, but beyond that we had a certain freedom that many other children our ages didn’t seem to have. Continue reading

My 1st through 10th painful psychiatric incarcerations (Part 4 of 4)

depression falling down

Please consider reading Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this four part post series before continuing with this post.

***Some content in this post may be disturbing or triggering. This post primarily focuses on a major depressive episode of Bipolar disorder type 1***

At the end of Part 3 of this post series, I had attended my eighth out of 10 hospitalizations for mania and/or mania with mixed features, and was again in an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). The remaining major depressive episode eased briefly. I had improved sufficiently enough to return back to work part-time and resume care under my private psychiatrist, Dr. Ripley.

Only two months later, the depressive episode worsened to severe, but there were no hints of mania involved. Continue reading

My 1st through 10th painful psychiatric incarcerations (Part 3 of 4)

insanity Van Gogh

Please consider reading Part 1 and Part 2 of this post series before continuing with this post.

***This post may be triggering. It details my personal experience with Bipolar type 1 full blown manias and mixed manias. Not all people with bipolar disorder behave as severely as I detail, or even severely at all. Experiences with bipolar disorder vary.***

At the end of Part 2 of this series, I mentioned that it was after my sixth Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) that I likely quit my medications cold turkey. Because of that, my transition from quasi “wellness” back to complete mood instability was quite rapid. The scariest part was that I had recently returned to work part-time. Continue reading

My 1st through 10th painful psychiatric incarcerations (Part 2 of 4)

outburst

***Some content in this post series may be very triggering***

In Part 1 of this post series, I mentioned that I do not remember at least half of my 10 psychiatric hospitalizations, mostly the second half. In order to write this part of the series I’ve had to refer to the past hospital records I collected to figure out what likely happened when. I may still mix some things up. The hospital records do not contain the full story of my experiences. I remember mentioning that to my current psychiatrist of 12 years, and he said he wasn’t surprised. Continue reading

When I was “In the pink”

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Feeling great physically and emotionally

I have to confess that it’s been years since I exercised regularly. I am even disappointed in myself because I don’t eat as well as I used to. This was not always the case. I’ve had periods in my life when I exercised all of the time and maintained what my husband refers to as my “Every meal two veggie and/or fruit policy.” I was like an army sergeant about that. Luckily hubby likes veggies and fruits. Continue reading

My 1st through 10th painful psychiatric incarcerations (Part 1 of 4)

psychiatrist

***Some content in this post may be very triggering***
Before I start this post series, please note that I do not remember all of my 10 psychiatric hospitalizations. Many are mostly lost from my memory, so I will use hospital records to assist me in writing about them. This first installment is actually a part of this story series that I do remember in some detail. My bipolar disorder was not at its very worst at this point. My episodes worsened over the four years that followed. In this post I was 33 & 34 years old.
This series is being written in preparation for a chapter in my working memoir.

Continue reading

Pursuit of pleasure to lonely walk down a pictureless hallway

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A story about minor mood lability. Many of us have it on occasion. People with bipolar disorder even more often, usually.

I remember one day maybe five years ago sitting in my therapist’s office feeling like I was on the edge of my seat. I had been feeling a bit depressed for a while prior to that day, but my mood was improving very rapidly. I told her, “Renee, I’m going to set out on a pursuit of pleasure. I’m ready.” To that I believe she asked me what exactly I meant. In response, I told her I was going to trip the light fantastic and paint the town blue. She grimaced, but said nothing. Continue reading

Eat Bitter (吃苦)- How well can you do it?

fist tight

In Mandarin Chinese, there is a maxim “Eat bitter” or “Eating bitterness”. The pin yin romanization is Chī Kǔ. Basically this phrase refers to enduring hardship, or enduring something that is less than pleasant or desirable in either good humor or acceptance. People who “eat bitter” will continue on with life despite difficulties. They should stay focused on challenges, and persist. To Chinese, being able to effectively “eat bitter” is a type of virtue, and mostly expected. Continue reading

The thrill of exhibitionism/indecent exposure

exhibitionism

When I saw today’s Daily Post word “exposed”, the first thing that came to my mind was exhibitionism/indecent exposure, and the thrill it gives to the people who expose themselves. [Funny where my thoughts go, huh?] I have a few true stories of this to share that I have encountered in the past. I’ll admit that none of these incidences scared me in any way, though I’m sure victims of exhibitionism can be scared in some circumstances. Continue reading

Stress habits or self-medication

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Anxiety, frustration or anger, excess energy, depression (or low mood), and several other things just plain drive many of us to it. What? Stress habits and self-medication.

Peter picks the tips of his fingers until they bleed. Joan drinks a bit too much alcohol to unwind. I clench and grind my teeth. Jack binge eats on occasion. Continue reading