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    Insomnia, mania, and progress.

    I just swept behind/under all the furniture, swept the living room, and steam mopped the floor at 12:30 tonight. I’ve taken my sleeping meds but they aren’t working. I’m having a manic episode tonight.

    I recently got in a new relationship that is going well. I take care of my mom, and he understands she’s part of the package deal. He’s been staying with me a lot which has made it easier to sleep, but he’s out of town tonight. I had deleted all my dating apps and gave up. Then he randomly messaged me on Facebook after not seeing him/speaking for 5 years. I met him through a mutual friend 7 years ago. At first I kept one-lining him, but he stayed persistent messaging me. I finally opened up and I’m glad I did. I got out of a crazy toxic relationship 2 years ago. This new relationship is so refreshing.

    Also, this year I’ve gained 30 lbs bc of 2 surgeries and a med change. I haven’t taken pictures of myself in forever. I finally took 2 selfies today and posted on fb. I posted one here. My new bf is helping with my confidence.

    I also opened up to my psych about being stuck in such a depressive state and she put me on a new medication. It’s working but gives me a lot of energy, so that’s fueling my insomnia a bit.

    Sorry for the randomness, but here’s to healing and getting better ❤️‍🩹 🎉

    #Insomnia #MajorDepressiveDisorder #BipolarDisorder


    Resistance Is Futile: I hated medication. But I can’t live without it.

    Part 1 of 2 In the midnight hour of my parents’ spacious San Marino home, I begin thumping my head repeatedly against their floor-to-ceiling windows. There was never intent to hurt myself, I enjoy the thunder-like sounds.

    “Winston, why are you doing this?! Pleeeese stop,” my aunt Joyce, visiting from Hawaii, pleads from across the room.

    The night before, I found myself screaming at my parents at the top of my lungs, voice going hoarse, neck veins bulging. I force them to sit and stare at each other, convinced their affectionless relationship is one of cohabitating, unfeeling zombies. I see no love.

    Positive they are hurting themselves, I decide to hurt myself, so they can stop hurting themselves. An Ed Norton scene in Fight Club was my inspiration. Watching him assault himself was the pièce de résistance of the film. He got everything he wanted. So there I was, pounding my head against the glass.

    My cold but concerned father, a cancer physician, calls 911. Sirens sound, lights turn on, the front door busts open. A tall San Marino cop wrestles me to the ground. My heart pounds. The cop mashes my face against the light brown hardwood floor. Another cop handcuffs my wrists, metal squeezing deep into my flesh. I can’t breathe. An ambulance transports me under the glaring, fluorescent lights of Las Encinas Hospital, a place for psychiatric patients. My father attempts to soothe me, placing his chilly hand on my forehead. I want to spit in his face. If only I weren’t strapped to a gurney.

    This is my first 5150. A danger to myself or others. One of several to follow. I don’t believe in this moment that medication is the solution, a lesson I will have to learn the hard way.

    It wasn’t always like this. The first 20 years of my life I was diagnosis-free, excelling in academics, music, and athletics. I was a gentle Christian kid, loved basketball, liked Bible studies. I took people to church and told silly jokes. Having a girlfriend escaped me in college, however. So here I was. My mind unraveled the months prior with falling grades, bizarre behavior, and festering aggression. The National Alliance on Mental Health reports 75% of lifetime mental illness begins by 24.

    A right-thinking person could have avoided the hospital, maybe written a note to his parents or protest their company. Something subtle. But I had some obsession with trying to make everything perfect, by hook or by crook.

    During my first hospitalization, I’m terrified, caged in the sterile confines of whitewashed walls with no way out. I tell myself that worshipping Jesus will free me, like his disciples when they were in jail. When that doesn’t happen, I tell myself I’ll find a way out by day three, just like Jesus found his way out of a tomb.

    Delusions are symptoms of psychotic disorders, per the DSM-5. The National Institute of Mental Health reports 3 percent of the US population will experience a psychotic episode in life.

    Making things difficult, I refuse medication. I escape the locked ward the third day (think Shawshank Redemption), only to find the aforementioned police at my parents’ place ready to drive me to the hospital. Once I’m back, a judge releases me after a commitment hearing, saying involuntary commitment is unnecessary.

    I confuse the judge’s decision as a declaration of mental stability. Off meds, I partake in risky behavior, punching my father, lighting fires inside my parents’ home, smoking at gas stations and living in my car. On meds I graduate from UCLA (2003), teach in private schools and make friends.

    But I keep trying to quit meds. I stop abruptly, my mind frazzles. I dress up like Osama bin Ladin, then steal and lose my cousin’s dog after a 400-mile trip. I swear the San Jose deejay is sending me messages through the radio, confirming my soon-to-be famous status. According to Neuroscience Research Australia, psychotic relapse is the recurrence of untreated psychotic symptoms.

    In 2004 I track cars as I’m driving on the Bay Area freeways, comparing the queue to a baseball lineup. I’m the fourth car, I must be the cleanup hitter. At night I sit on the street, trying to predict the color of the next car I’ll see, as if this can be known.

    One day I enter the San Francisco Airport, convinced I’ll meet a romantic partner, but it’s another delusion called erotomania, where you imagine someone’s in love with you, but they’re not. I spend a fluorescent-filled night organizing pieces of trash from garbage cans: This is where I’ll keep the metallic-looking things. This is where I’ll keep the paper. In the morning, I return to the parking lot to find I don’t have enough cash to exit. I reenter the airport in socks (I’ve tossed a fresh pair of red Skechers).

    “Can I help with your luggage?” I ask, aware tha


    Resistance Is Futile: I hated medication. But I can’t live without it.

    Part 2 of 2 t I am a spectacle. There are just a few takers. I’m broke, spent.

    Unable to leave the parking lot, the attendant, who I’m furious at, calls the cops. I’m escorted to Bay Area hospital Mills Peninsula. My relatives visit. I take meds. But I stop again, returning to Las Encinas in 2005.

    Learning I’m one involuntary hospitalization away from conservatorship, having a legally appointed overseer, I realize this on-again-off-again relationship with meds is clearly not working. I commit to taking meds. Unbeknownst to me, my mom has also been hiding medication inside my In-n-Out cheeseburgers. Two years after my final hospitalization, she hands me an article about a USC professor who successfully navigates life with schizophrenia. I reach out and we meet for lunch at USC’s University Club, a faculty dining area near where my journalism program will begin in the fall.

    “I’m a lifer,” the professor with the curly peppered Einstein hair tells me in her gravelly voice, explaining her commitment to medication and psychoanalysis. “When I stopped fighting to get off meds, I became a much happier person. 1983 was the last time I was hospitalized and I’m proud of that. People say there is an end to therapy. Not for me.”

    Wearing her patented black coat, she adjusts her rimless glasses, adding that med withdrawals cause brain damage. More and more, I become convinced I must stick with the program. We continue to meet.

    National Institutes of Health reports that 3.8 million Americans take antipsychotic drugs.

    As a USC graduate student, I become an editor of the San Marino Tribune in 2008. My passions shift towards the stock market, and in 2015 I work in Sausalito, writing financial reports. Today I author reports for a firm which tracks funds with $48 trillion in assets under management. My parents have a relationship that works for them, and they mean a lot to me. Do I wish I didn’t have to take bipolar meds? You bet. Have I tried to stop since 2005? Of course. If my doctor ever says I don’t need as much, I’ll be thrilled. But like my parents’ marriage, that’s not up to me. Medication and therapy have put the life of fantasy and risky behavior in the rearview. My life is richer as a result.


    My Disability is permanent. My current state is the new normal.

    Rehabilitation has been a large part of my weekly routine since late august (between 5-14 hours per week) and it is coming to an end.

    Rehabilitation finishes

    After nearly 5 weeks in the hospital, close to 12 weeks as an outpatient, I have two sessions left, i.e., 4 hours of support left.This is something that I have been told to celebrate, as rehabilitation finishing means I have met my clinical goals. I’ve entered into a phase of maintenance. Bluntly for me a place of realisation that this is potentially the best I will ever be.I’ve seen this happen before over the past six or so years. It’s been tough, but I’ve somewhat improved to a point I can mask and ‘pretend’. This is what has hit me so hard, in previous times of intensive rehabilitation we’ve seen more improvement.This week I was encouraged to celebrate that I could walk (with crutches) marginally faster, however I was slower in my sit-to-stand times, and my falls have continued at least once per day.This doesn’t feel like a completion or a success. Yes, since my hospital admission I have progressed from a standing frame, wheelie walker to crutches. But then we have a full stop. I have arrived at my new normal. I’m struggling to be ok with this.

    What was
    Yes, I have been ‘unwell’ and had mobility issues for over 6 years; there have been peaks and troughs, and boom and bust periods (extended periods). Despite my pain, gait and walking complications, I have had periods when I could still do the things I love without too much planning or effect (the need to rest).Yes, I walked with a limp, was in constant pain, and struggled with moderate exercise. Still, it didn’t seem to impact family holidays, as the planning I put in place was enough to ‘pretend’ all was ok, and the pain was tolerable to push a little more.Yes, this was a complicated relationship with my disability and pain. However, this enabled me to do the things I loved. For example, our weekend walks were painful, but the company was great, and my mind thanked me for the exercise, conversation and fresh air.My work life was somewhat ‘normal’ as I was in senior management and mainly in an office or car. Only those I trusted or who were close to me saw the leg tremors and significant fatigue in the afternoon and evenings.I wasn’t embarrassed, I just wanted to live in make-believe that my disability didn’t affect my everyday.I knew that it was likely that I was on a two-year cycle and I was waiting for the crash. A return to rehabilitation. When I say waiting I mean that I: push hard to cram in memories, experiences, career goals, study achievements, advocacy, and simply quality time with my wife and family.In my mind, and simple logic, the cost reward always was worth it.

    Previous Scars
    This week I submitted my NDIS access request.I still have war wounds from my last request approx. 4-5 years ago, applying for my daughter. Having to constantly share her most painful experiences in a clinical and formulaic manner.Our first go at applying for the NDIS only achieved funding for approximately 1/3 of her therapy needs with no additional supports. We gathered more evidence, challenged the NDIS, took them to arbitration and saw an increase of over $90k.The biggest hurdle and hurt that I think scared me the most, having to argue for a young girl who was in a dark place, and the state and federal governments wouldn’t agree on who was responsible for support.Even multiple times the NDIS encouraged and challenged us as to why my wife doesn’t quit her job and be her full-time caretaker. I’m so nervous and anticipating I will need to open some of these wounds and start retelling my story.

    Read the full story here:


    Do My Friends Really Like Me?

    There have been times in my life when I thought I didn’t have a friend in the world, and my disorder was the cause of it. I was just too weird, too odd – unlovable. I didn’t fit in anywhere, with anyone.

    Actually, it started in my childhood. I had the idea that my parents only loved me because they had to – because I was their child. Ergo, if I weren’t their child, they would never love me. This was very untrue and unfair, I now realize, but I lived the early part of my life believing it.

    I had very little evidence that I could make friends. I just never seemed to get the hang of it. There were kids in the suburban neighborhood where I lived, but we didn’t form what you would call lasting friendships. As I recall, there were two sisters who tried to humiliate me with a cruel prank involving a Ouija board and tape-recorded “messages” from the beyond.

    In third grade, children threw stones at me. I had to have three stitches in my forehead. Another kid chased me around the schoolyard with a hypodermic needle that I hope was imaginary. My “best” friend in junior high school literally kicked me in the ass in front of a group of younger kids, which led to the first major meltdown that I can remember.

    Though now, looking back, high school was the time when I began to embrace my oddity. I wasn’t diagnosed yet, so I didn’t know that the depressive and manic episodes were responsible, but I was learning that there were people who would accept me regardless. I had a tight little group of three or four friends, most of whom are still my friends to this day. They taught me that lasting friendship was possible. In college, I acquired another tight little circle of friends – and one disastrous train wreck of a relationship that left me with defective coping mechanisms such as self-harm.

    Since my diagnosis, I’ve found more friends. Several have not been able to adjust to my mood disorder and have broken off contact. It hurt badly, of course, but I could see their point. When I was at my lowest point, I was not able to be a good friend to them either.

    So, how has bipolar disorder been involved in my friendships (or lack thereof)? First, with all the chaos inside my head and my constant need to deal with it, I didn’t have much energy left to find friends. When I did get close to people, I ended up pushing them away with my erratic behavior. Only a few kindred souls stuck with me.

    I suffered from imposter syndrome too. I thought that it might look like I had friends, but they would soon realize how damaged I was and leave. Or I believed that I was faking being a friend and really had no idea how to go about it.

    I ghosted people without intending to when I went into a depressive episode. If I met them when I was manicky, I might be the proverbial life of the party, entertaining with my peculiar sense of humor. The next time they saw me, though, I might be an uncommunicative, weepy lump.

    Still, there are people who have known me through the whole range of my moods and my disorder, and I am confident that they are my true friends. They really like me (shades of Sally Field!) and some even love me. I have Facebook friends that I keep in touch with regularly. They provide me a link to the outside world. I have IRL friends whom I see occasionally (we tend to live in different states). I even have a few friends nearby.

    I love my friends. Because of how hard they’ve been to come by, I value them greatly. They have stood by me. They have invited me to dinner, to their parties, and on their vacations. They have comforted me when I was down, distracted me when I was anxious, and enjoyed my company when I’ve been stable. They’ve cried on my shoulder and I have cried on theirs. They’ve bought my books. Some have even lent me money when I really, really needed it. They have become my family of choice.

    I treasure every one of my friends – especially my husband, who is my best friend. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.


    Dealing with my father who is lying to and about me

    My father and I shared a close relationship for 48 years until my mother died. I'm an only child. I had a difficult relationship with my mother due to her aggressive personality and insistence that she was always right. She died years ago and while she was dying and immediately afterwards - unbeknownst to me he established a relationship with a woman who became my mother's best friend while she was dying from pancreatic cancer. He didn't tell me about this new relationship until they had already become committed to each other. My father always had narcissistic tendencies, and his new woman (whom he married a year to the day after my mother's funeral) indulges him in these tendencies to the point where he became insufferable. I haven't seen him in seven years or spoken to him in six. It is on my heart to do something about this, but because I intrinsically knew he was lying in the beginning I couldn't accept this new relationship. Since then I have found out that he has repeatedly lied and defamed my and my wife's character to many people, while trying to contact me maintaining that he doesn't know what he's done wrong.

    Is there any point to trying to re-establish contact with my father at this point?

    #narcissism #manipulation #Lying


    All I want is a peace of mind

    I've had such a fast confusing upbringing now I've discovered the toxicity I'm so soreal the black sheep I would say me and my older middle sister that is so sweet and senseless on purpose like me at times we would probably bump heads because our inner emotions are so traumatizing not to mention attracting like relationships generally she is in jail and I'm working on bettering my circumstances while still living with the devil's advocates smh!


    I’m new here!

    Hi, my name is GmaOfFive81. I'm here because I want to be open to new ideas or suggestions to deal with not only my physical limitations, but also how it effects my interpersonal relationships as well.

    #MightyTogether #Anxiety #Depression #PTSD #ADHD #Grief

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    Falling down #Depression #Anxiety #Faith #Hope #Relationships #Christianity #PTSD #MentalHealth

    It never ceases to amaze me how God speaks to me sometimes through the most random of situations. As we continue our holiday in Scotland we were walking past the main entertainment hall in Edinburgh yesterday and saw that there was a concert that night featuring “Doguee Maclean”, Scotlands most famous folk singer.

    We managed to get tickets and the concert was wonderful. He spoke about how as a child he was told it’s ok and normal to fall down. The key is not to stay there. The lyrics of the song really inspired me.

    Dream on, little one
    There are flowers in your hair
    And see what the time has done
    Scattered diamonds everywhere
    And when you're standing on your highest hill
    And you shout but no one hears

    You can fall but you must not lie down
    You can fall but you must not lie down
    And though you're lost in the deep of the fiddle's sweet sound
    You can fall but you must not lie down.

    Sometimes it’s hard to get up on your own. Reach out. There are people everywhere who will reach down to you. Don’t give up hope.


    An interview with myself and my new Wife

    This is an interview with my partner and I on my health conditions, what our lives are like, having a supportive relationship with someone with chronic illnesses, how we met, dealing with dying and more.

    #AddisonsDisease #PosturalOrthostaticTachycardiaSyndrome #EhlersDanlosSyndrome
    #PTSD #FunctionalNeurologicalDisorder #migraine
    #CeliacDisease #MitochondrialDisease #MastCellActivationDisorder #Trauma #RaynaudsDisease #MentalHealth
    #Depression #Anxiety #ChronicPain #ChronicIllness #Disability #DistractMe #dying #LGBTQIA