Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Mind: Rhythmic Disturbances--Could it Be?

I have over twenty subjects that are either in my notebook or in the draft section in the blog, but here I am, unable to start, add to them, or finish any of them. Why? For two days a particular subject has been burning in my heart, but as I sat here, I look at the rough draft and I feel nothing. My mind will not come up with the words. I try, but I cannot find the passion I had when I first came up with the subject that I thought "I just had to get out!" Last night I thought about it over and over and could not wait to write today!

So, I sit here and with a blank page, write what my mind feels like saying. It may not be good, it may not be worth anything, but something will be written Oh, I wish I could explain in words what this feels like. If anyone who does not have my illness, you would probably say to yourself "my heart is not in it anymore." If you could just understand, and turn that around and realize I really and truly want to! I type one line, delete it, type something else, and delete that, until I get so frustrated I just give up. Last night my mind was burning with fire, words coming and going, ideas, everything so vibrant and real.

But this morning, I am depressed. Not only depressed, but anxious, restless, irritable - I am in a mixed-state that most do not want to be in. Symptoms from mania and depression come flowing in at the same time. It's scary! How come many people get "well" or better as they state, and although every day, faithfully I take my medication also, but as I sit here, I could count at least 7 different traits of manic-depression upon me right now?

I know by research that most of us who seriously suffer from this illness are, for the most part controlled by "rhythmic disturbances" which moods and symptoms change during the course of the day. Many articles and books I have read on this supports that in some, mornings are the worse. In her book "Touched with Fire" Kay Redfield Jamison quotes British psychiatrists W. Mayer-Gross, E Slater, and M Roth describing this very thing:

"An important and significant symptom of the endogenous depression--but also mania --is the daily fluctuation of mood and of the total state. Improvements of all symptoms usually occurs towards evening, the retardation and depressive mood particularly showing a change for the better. In the morning however, the patient wakes direct from sleep into his characteristic somber mood or is normal for a few minutes, before, as he says, the depression come down -like a cloud"

Guess with my particular work schedule, and everything else going on is just about the only time I can write? You got the morning. I guess I just answered my own question as to why I cannot complete what I want to write late in the evenings. Go figure...

"My Mind" --For sale.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Quick Mental and Physical Update: Summary

"The defects and faults of the mind are like wounds in the body; after all imaginable care has been taken to heal them up, still there will be a scar left behind, and they are in continual danger of breaking the skin and bursting out again."

Francois de La Rochefoucauld

I will make this quick because I am not feeling my best at this moment.

I mentioned not long ago that I entered into the New Year with high expectations that 2012 will be a better year for me, which in turn will be better for my family also. Well, if it's ok with you, I'd like to roll back the calendar and start all over. This is the middle of March, and already it has been rough.

On February 16, in the piece "Lack of Writing - An Update" that the years of living under the beautiful Southwest sky has now taken its toll on me. For years this rather fair skin of mine soaked up the scorching hot suns rays. Working outdoors with temperatures in excess of 115 degrees - so hot rattlesnakes was begging for water -as most people knows it usually catches up to you years down the road. In other we get older, we pay the price in the form of skin cancer. Once again, as with the "black blood" of bipolar that runs in my family - of my siblings, I got the worst. My brothers' who lived and worked with me does not seem to have this problem.

This is my third bout with skin cancer. Friday the 9th, I had surgery once again. The cancer was located on my left temple. Realistically, compared to the others it was not that large. There were one three spots not far from each other, one larger that the other two. When the surgeon went in, she found that under the skin however they all connected with one large mass of cancer. Now I bear the incisions and that kind of look like a "star fish." One line starts at the top of my receding forehead and runs down under my eye. The other starts over my ear, crosses the other one and ends over my left eyebrow. The doctor said in time the scars will look rather "pretty." That's just great. A man in his early 50's does not want a scar to look "pretty", but rather masculine, or one that builds character. The good new is the doctor was able to get ALL the cancer, so I will not have to go through radiation again!

Yesterday, sitting at my usual coffee shop, I was not in the best of spirits. I was in that middle stage of depression, irritable and in the mood that I just did not want to talk to anyone. I just wanted to be left alone. Over the last week, many who had seen the bandages and the large incisions from time to time had asked "What in the world happened to you?" and I would explain. But as I sat there yesterday, I wandered "What kind of scars is left on my mind that no one could see? Fifty-two years of never ending 'manic-depression' surely has left some open wounds or damage to the mind! But they cannot see that. No one will ever see THAT illness, or know that while it is being treated, the disease is still more alive now than ever."

"My Mind"

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Writing Style: No Rules to Guide Me

Professional writers expect some rejection and criticism. I believe this is what makes them stronger, and in turn, builds character. Some receives hundreds before their work is published. Now that my friends is dedication, character, and above all belief that their work is good!

A few days ago, out of the blue, I received an email from "X" with the subject line as follows: "Great Blog - Poor Writing." His email was about a page or so long outlining some rules of grammar, punctuation and probably just about every other mistake I have been guilty of. Even though I had to look up some definitions of a couple of words, I though it was very interesting. More importantly, I agreed with him one-hundred percent! I went as far to tell him so.

My situation on creating a "well written, proper, ready-to-publish" blog is hindered by, two major obstacles:

One:    My education is limited. Not only did I not major in English, I did not attend college. My favorite subjects in school were math and history - English was on the bottom of the list, therefore my grades reflected this. In addition to this, most of what I did learn, I forgot.

Two:    I think there are some who forgets the title of this blog and who the author is. I made a comment once that on many posts even if I did not mention my condition, you could read the article, most importantly the "tone of my voice" and could tell the what level on the chart of manic-depressive I am in at that time. The worse off I am, the worse my writing becomes.

Trust me; all grammar aside, I love to write! I have dreams of writing a novel and I have the subject and characters all lined out. It would be a thriller...of course. But I doubt very much there is a publisher or editor out there willing to tackle making it 'marketable." :)

"My Mind"

Thursday, March 8, 2012

"My Mind"...Please let Me have Control ! !

"Mania is a sickness for one's friends, depression for one's self. Both are chemical. In depression, one wakes, is happy for about two minutes, probably less, and fades into dread of the day. Nothing will happen, but you know twelve hours will pass before you are back in bed and sheltering your consciousness in dreams, or nothing."

Robert Lowell

I wanted to write so bad today! But it is useless to even try. There was something that has been on my heart to write about, and I made up my mind last night I would this morning. But, about twenty minutes from the time my feet hit the floor this morning, I felt it creep in me. Slowly it built up steam... imagine pure depression, irritable, major anger, guilt, restless, anxiety to the point where I cannot breathe --all at once.

There is no use in me trying to type anything else. I feel that I either have to get up and run as hard as I can, or sink into the covers and turn on music and hide. I don't know which, or what to do, and this makes it worse.

I'll be back as soon as I can. Until then, think of me. I know I'll make it...but sometimes it's such a fine line...

"My Mind"

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My Last Psychiatrist Visit

The good thing about living in a rather small town near a metropolitan city is that it has character. To me there is nothing like walking down the old sidewalks, looking into the stores that have been in business for over fifty years.

I parked my car on the street in the last spot near the fire hydrant. I sat there for a little bit, looking over my notes. There were several questions I had written down to go over with my psychiatrist. To me, this was a decisive point. I needed answers, and I was prepared to consult other doctors if needed. Finally, I got out of the car and walked along a narrow stone pathway, near a gazebo, around a nice small fountain and up 10 steps to a large stately stone building. As usual, I signed in, took the forms and just filled them out when the doctor called me back.

It started out as normal; how have I been, what has changed, measuring my moods –both mania and serious depression on a scale of one-ten. I told her “I hope you have extra time because this will take a while.” I guess by the tone in my voice and the serious look on my face she replied; “Well, I guess I have to make the time.”

I went over a lot of things, for once, not forgetting what was written on the paper in my pocket. In a nutshell, here’s to the best of my recollection what I said.

“I have suffered with this illness all my life. I can trace it back for generations. Before I walked into your office the first time, I do not believe anyone could be in worse shape and still be alive. ONLY two things held me from weeks carrying out plans that so many in their black hole where only the evil devil awaits: My Faith, and the strong love and support of my wife - the ultimate consequences it would have on her for me to "go" that way. And now, ten years later, I had three consecutive days where these feelings came back. Every symptom in your book I went through. The plans I had set in place all came back. The guilt I placed on my family; they would not only be better off without me—both financially and the burden they live with. Along with that, I am tired. I am so very tired mentally of the sudden instant rollercoaster, unpredictable moods. Why am I not getting better?”

I guess she waited a little bit for me to calm down before she replied. “I have been practicing psychiatry for over thirty years. You, by far are not my worst case…trust me. I have patients in the hospitals that would run chills down your spine if you saw them. And, if you remember, without coming right out and saying it I almost sent you there. Just a few weeks ago I asked you if you could take a week or two off from work and voluntarily commit yourself, so we can monitor you 24/7 and see what’s going on. You are not the worst, BUT, you are about the hardest patient to treat I have.”

I asked what she meant. “Number one, you do not respond to medicine well. We try several; get the dose where it helps and where you can still function, and then you change. So we either raise the dose or add another to assist that medicine. All the medications you are on should be more than enough to even you out. Some that usually puts some patients in a trance has no effect, while others have the opposite effect on you. And like I said, we get things worked out pretty good and your moods and cycle changes - it’s like starting all over again. I will never give up on you, but the rest is up to you.”

I walked in the cool breeze slowly watching the traffic go by. I thought about it as I walked, and all the way home, driving almost in circles, slowly taking the long way home. She was right. One reason so far I have not yet mentioned any medication I have taken over the years is because the list is long. You name it. Many have the effect of Advil. Lithium is out of the question because some of the serious side effects I already have.

I love my family with all that is in my heart. My wife is made of gold.* I will tell you about her someday. I have no intention of going anywhere. If my wife has not given up on me all these years, then I will not give up either. I owe her more than that. How can you repay someone with that type of love and devotion? The only way I know is love her back with every drop of blood in my veins.

This week has been rough. I go for surgery Friday. Man, the thought of that really makes one all warm and fuzzy inside huh? I’ll try to write before then. There’s something I truly want to say before Friday. I’ll try.

Until then…hang in there with me.

“My Mind”