Sunday, March 23, 2008

things fall apart...the center does not hold

Well, I haven't written here in a couple weeks. I took a trip to visit my grandparents in another state. But also, things have been kind of on the downhill lately. I have no energy and I think the Trazadone I am taking for sleep is causing me to have psychotic thoughts at night after I take it.

I have been having some old symptoms occur which I do not have most of the time anymore, because most of the time my antipsychotic medications help.

I do not want to go into too much detail about the symptoms right now, but maybe I will some other time.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

being known as the crazy one

Well, tomorrow I embark on a trip I don't really want to be taking. I am going to visit my grandparents up north, and relatives who never communicate with me at all. So hooray!! To make things even better the grandparents on my mother's side - and my mother is the one who planned the trip - won't let me stay at their house, because they think, based on events that happened five years ago, that I am crazy. Then my aunt, their other daughter, also said I could not stay at her house - I guess she is afraid of my craziness as well. So finally I resorted to asking my dad if he could speak with his parents, who I last saw when they kicked me out of the house 8 years ago - while I was really delusional and paranoid, if I could stay at their house. I asked him to explain I've been on medications EVERY DAY for the last 2 1/2 years, I work usually, I go to school, and I run a support group, so I'm doing a lot better now than I was 8 years ago.

The good news is that they said they don't mind if I stay with them. So at least I have a place to sleep during this trip, which is better than a few days ago when I was ready to cancel the whole trip because of these dynamics.

Honestly, I would rather stay at my dad's parents house anyway, as they have historically been much less dysfunctional than my other grandparents tend to be because my other grandfather is a lifetime alcoholic.

I guess I am a little mad right now, actually. I have been counting all the people who have walked out of my life or expressed no desire to have anything to do with me over the years since I became Schizoaffective. This is really a long list. I lost neighbors who I was friendly with because they reported me to social services for the abnormal behavior I was exhibiting and I got evicted from the apartment I was living in at the time, because the landlord was informed I was committed to as psychiatric hospital.

I lost my best friends who I met online eleven years ago, and who I trusted and confided in - apparently far too much. When I started saying weird things when I was psychotic, two of them said to me directly that they did not want to be part of my life anymore. Another one just dropped from the face of the earth and I never heard from her again - she was my best friend, Ali. All these people could have remained my friend if they could have waited a little while until I got treatment and found out what the illness was that was affecting my brain. I could have explained it all to them, and we could have remained friends. Actually if they could have pointed out to me what was bizarre about my behavior, instead of just writing me off, that might have made world of difference.

I have learned through these experiences that I really can't trust anyone very much. I have trusted, apparently, the wrong people and shared information with them that they did not understand nor did they really try to learn about what was going on. They just cut me off. And actually, if I am going to be honest, I have to say I am pretty pissed off about being treated like I am some kind of Leper by my closest friends, who are smart enough to have figured out on their own that I was delusional - but apparently never bothered to try to figure that out.

So now I have a couple online friends and two in-person friends, who both have mental illnesses, and still I don't feel like I can relate too much to anyone or trust any of these people very much. I really need friends who like the same music I do or like to go to movies, or have an interest in politics and activism, or women's history and literature, but I have no friends like that. I am not very good at making friends. Which is probably why, when I did have more close friends, I did not follow proper boundaries with how much I told them. I just told them everything, and that was stupid. Because they turned out not to be trustworthy people.

I like to think that I'm a pretty good friend to the friends I have. Two of them I have known since before I got sick, and they have been good friends by not writing me off. I like to think that I would do the same for them, if the circumstances were reversed. Maybe I would not know how to, though, and maybe I would have to tell them, "I don't want to talk to you anymore", like my three close friends did to me. I know one thing: I never knew much about Schizophrenia, before I developed it myself.

As far as my family goes, my grandparents are all pretty old at this point, and people who are up in age don't necessarily know as much about pschiatry and psychiatric problems as younger generations, since they come from an era where such problems were not talked about.

The other thing that is bothering me, is now that I am overwieght from my medication, I know people I'm related to are going to talk about my weight behind my back jut like they do to everybody else who is overweight in their family. I know somebody is probably going to make a comment to me about my weight, and I know I don't need to hear that kind of crap right now, because my self-esteem is low enough as it is. I don't really need anything to lower it! But I'm related to a lot of perfectionistic people, and I know they look down upon overweight people. What they are not going to understand, unless I explain it to them, is that the medication that is making me overweight is also vital for keeping me alive.

Sorry to sound like a grouch in this post. I guess the prospect of seeing relatives who don't really know much about my life, except the rumors that they have been told or the crazy things that I did before I was on medication, just kind of stresses me out.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

problems

I am trying to keep my spirits up, but there are certain things getting in the way. I went off Prozac by losing the bottle for two weeks. So now that I'm back on it, it has to get into my system, which takes time.

Because of this, I have been having obsessive thoughts about unhealthy things.
I can't concentrate at all to study and I have two final exams coming up for which I am not prepared.

Because I told my friend I was having odd thoughts about him, he totally stopped talking to me, which hurts.

Every once in a while, just a little bit....I hear and see secret "messages" as I call them, in things I read or things people say. It doesn't happen often and I'm not having a psychotic break, but it happens enough.

It takes me anywhere from 2-5 hours to fall asleep at night after I take my medication, and if I take the highest dosage which makes me sleep the best, I sleep well into the next day, sleeping 13 hours or so. But if I take the lower dose, I just sleep for 5 hours or so. I wake up tired either way, as the medication is very sedating. This is just not working for me.

I think about random, horrible things like shooting myself in the head, slicing my throat, and cutting my wrists - OCD type thoughts that are repetetive and intrusive. This is disturbing because I was not having these kinds of thoughts for a while. It started up again after my boyfriend left, and it comes and goes. I do not intend on acting on any of these thoughts.

So, while I'm tryig to think positively, focuse on what is going well in my life, and think of solutions to problems, rather than getting depressed about them, I find myself getting depressed nonetheless.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Mental Illness and Crime

I recently finished the book Crazy: A Father's Search through America's Mental Health Madness by Pete Early. I also recently volunteered to speak to local police officers in the Crisis Intervention branch of the local police department. This is a program through which people who have mental illnesses speak to officers to help educate them about mental illness. This has been shown to result in lower numbers of people with mental illnesses being shot by the police, as the book I just finished indicates. It probably also results in fewer arrests of mentally ill people who really belong in a hospital and not a jail.

I will mention something here, in this vein of educating people about how mentally ill people may end up committing crimes. Some of the things I may have done when I was psychotic, would be deemed illegal. I believe that the reason I was never arrested when I was psychotic was because I did not fit the stereotypical image of a criminal. I am white, female and was, at the time, very thin. I fit in with society's sexist and racist beliefs that a white female is less likely to be a criminal than a black man, who is (in fact) much more likely to end up in prison.

At one point when I was psychotic, I may have stolen a car. I will not admit or deny that this happened, I will just say it might have happened. I don't know what the legal ramifications would be of me saying it did happen. I may have had the following experience:
While getting off a bus because I saw a sign that said JC on it, and being so delusional I thought I was Jesus Christ reincarnated (this thought explained the bizarre experiences I was having), I got off the bust because I believed that sign was not a business sign but a message for me, Jesus Christ, that I belonged at that auto repair shop.

Somehow I ended up wondering into a nearby grocery store though, and walking around. What I was doing was hearing voices that told me I was going to be sent to a concentration camp if I did not get a car and stop riding the bus. I had many reasons why I honestly believed there were real concentation camps in the US which people were being sent to. The voices told me there was a car waiting for me in the parking lot. So I walked out into the parking lot and as I was Jesus Christ, I saw the car meant for me - a Chrysler. The voices said that car was named after you, it is meant for you, you have a DUTY to take it, and if you do not take it you are going to a camp. I walked up to the car and saw that the key was in the ignition. The doors were unlocked. I may have taken this car. If I did - it is because I THOUGHT I WOULD DIE IN A CONCENTRATION CAMP IF I DIDN'T TAKE IT. If I did take it, I also abandoned it in a parking lot a day later.

Other times when I was psychotic, I thought that I was supposed to have a job, for which I would not be paid. I thought that everyone "won" things, like the way I won that car, so people only worked for free, not because it made them money. I thought this for a long time. I went to stores, like a grocery store, and a department store and walked right into the areas that were for employees only. At the grocery store, I put on an apron that the people working in the deli wear, and I went behind the deli counter. But I felt confused, because I did not know how to do the job, and I was afraid that I might not be in the right place, so I left. I did not get into any trouble, because I did not get caught.

At one department store, I did get caught. A manager asked me who I was and what I was doing. I said, "I was sent here". She said, "by who??" I said, sensing she would not believe me if I told her the voices sent me, "I was told I am supposed to be here...by the other store in Palm Harbor". She said "who at that store told you to come here to work??" I said, "the manager". She asked my name. I said, "Michelle" (this is not my name). She called the other store and asked if someone had sent a person named Michelle to work here. This was not happening like it was supposed to. The people were supposed to KNOW that I was there because I was sent there by the New World Order way of sending people to work in places that needed help. I did not expect to be paid, I just wanted to work, to avoid going to a concentration camp.

When the manager picked up the phone, I bolted for the door and quickly fled the area, to avoid problems that seemed likely to happen because these people at this store were not "Theta" and could not read my mind and understand I was meant to be there.

I could, especially if I was another race, or a man, easily have been arrested for this. If I had stayed in the store, I feel quite sure I would have been sent somewhere, either jail or a hospital. But I didn't stay there to find out if that would happen. What I thought was, everybody being sent to jail or a hospital is actually sent to a concentration camp. I wanted to avoid this fate at all costs.

Another time, when I was psychotic, I thought my brother's friend had telepathically told me, or told me in double speak, that I should take his bike and it was mine. So I took it, and left it in front of my apartment thinking that it belonged to me, and it was my new mode of transporation. The next day my brother an my mother, and my brother's friend showed up and they said something like, "what the hell is wrong with you?" I didn't understand what was happening because I thought the friend had given me the bike, but evidently I was incorrect. To this day my mother says I should apologize to this guy for stealing his bike - as if I knew what I was doing at the time. I would apologize if I had contact with this person but I would not say I knew what I was doing, because that would be a lie. This is another example of something I could have gone to jail for, if it had been reported.

I also had the delusional belief that people did not really work for money, nobody got a paycheck, and everybody got things by 'winning' them. For this reason I stole small items that the voices told me I won. I never took anything worth more than a few dollars, but every time I took something I heard someone tell me to take it - a real per son, but I probably was hallucinating what they said. I am sorry about this too, but it happened years ago and after I got on medication, I never took anything again. Obviously, if I had stood out more or if I had been more obvious about what I was doing, I could have been arrested for it. I am very likely that never happened.

So, you see that I have had many experiences where my mental illness led me to do things that are not exactly legal or honest, and I did them because I THOUGHT I HAD TO. Anybody who truly believes they have to steal lipstick, because the won it, and Anderson Cooper told them that they would go to a concentration camp if they did not take it, is most likely going to take it. I was so delusional I was living in a world where the rules and laws of the real world did not exist. I had a delusional world with its own rules and regulations.

If I had been caught doing these things and someone had reported them, I might have ended up with legal problems, and I might have been thrown into a jail cell while I was delusional and thinking it was a concentration camp. I am very lucky that this did not happen.

The incident that landed me into the hospital long term, where I finally got the help I needed, involved me having bought, learned to use, and loaded a .357 magnum. I was picked up by several police officers, and put in handcuffs and taken to the hospital. I got out about five months later. T hat was the best thing that could have happened to me. If the police had found me with this gun without a suicide note and a living will lying next to it, they may have thought I was going to use it on someone else, not myself. I could have - in that situation - been shot by the police, if they thought I was going to use the gun on them. I am lucky that they knew, from my family informing them, that I was mentally ill and that I was going to commit suicide, so they took me to a hospital and not a jail. I had legally purchased the gun and kept it in my trunk, which is not illegal, so there was nothing illegal that they could charge me with.

I think it is very important for police officers, who have frequent contact with people who have psychiatric illnesses, to know what psychiatric illnesses are like, what they might lead someone to do, and why they could lead a person to do things that the person would not do if she was not mentally ill. I look forward to a few months from now, when the next CIT training takes place, so I can become one of the people who educates the officers in order to help other people who are mentally ill who might end up having contact with the police. Jail is definitely NOT the proper place for people with mental illnesses, and unfortunately with the overcrowding in hospitals and the expense of hospitalization, I don't know what the proper place is.

Pete Early, in his book, suggests that people with mental illnesses were better of when there were state hospitals to take them in. I don't agree with this because the conditions at most of those hospitals were horrific - the stuff of nightmares, and no one with a mental illness deserves to be mistreated like people often were inside those hospitals.

Please add your thoughts on this issue in the comments area, if you have any ideas.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

negative thoughts

I am wondering if Trazadone is having negative effects on my mood and my thinking. Ever since the first night I took it, I've had suicidal thoughts a little while after taking it. I have no intention of acting on those thoughts, but it's not really healthy to have them whether you act on them or not. The other problem is, I went off Prozac for about two weeks. I lost the bottle, and with my terrible memory, I didn't realize I lost it right away. Then the pharmacy wouldn't refill it, and the point of the story is, I just went back on it today. I know this situation is not helping my mood, my lack of motivation, or my thoughts, being off of it for long enough that it was out of my system.

I keep thinking at night, after I take the Trazadone, about guns, and how I wish I would have shot myself when I had the chance. The odd thing is, most of the time, during the day, I don't have these thoughts. So that is why I think it might be related to the medicine. It might also be related to how tired I am because no medicines seem to be able to make me sleep correctly.

Another negative thought I am having is about my friends walking out of my life in the past , and one who seems to have done that recently. I wrote about this person here, which was stupid, and I wrote to him a stupid email that didn't make logical sense because I have problems sometimes with my thoughts about him. Now he doesn't talk to me anymore. I don't blame him; it is all my fault. But it hurts because I had several close friends who decided years ago when I was psychotic that they wanted nothing to do with me anymore. So now that I'm not psychotic anymore, I don't know how to reach any of these people. I don't have their current addresses or phone number or anything. And I miss these people.

Another negative thought I have a lot is about my weight. I gained SO MUCH weight from this medication. I did get the doctor to decrease my Invega the other day, since that is the drug I gained the weight on, but it was only decreased a tiny bit.
I don't feel attractive anymore, and my boyfriend used to tell me I wasn't attractive to him anymore, which doesn't exactly do wonders for the self-esteem. I know that people look at overweight people differently - as if they're lazy or they don't care about their appearance, or they are not attractive. This bothers me because I can't go off the medication, altogether, as that would mean losing my sanity, but people don't realize that when they make judgements about you for seeing that you are overweight.

I don't really have much else I want to say right now so I will just end this here.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

March is Women's History Month!!

The men got the eleven other months out of the year. At least we have one!! (Feel free to pass this post along to anybody you know who is not aware about our month)

Here is a great page which will remind you why we need to catch up with the rest of the modern world soon and elect a woman President: Women Presidents.

Here is an excellent site to check out:
The Feminist Theory Website

Here is some information on Various Fields Within Feminism.

Here is the landmark book, The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir, online (some of it)

Here is an excerpt from another landmark book, The Feminine Mystique, by Betty Friedan
Be sure to check out the Women's History Site at About.com

March 8th is International Women's Day!Nice to know we get one out of 356 just for us!
Fair enough, we're only 50 percent of the population....

Here are some fun activities for boredom:
What Goddess are You? Take this quiz.
Women in Greek Myths - another quiz can be found here.
Are you a militant feminist? Take this quiz and find out.
Check out who the feminist of the day is on spacefem.com.

The Women's History Section of Feminist Resources for Women and Girls has three pages of intersting links on women's history and the suffrage and abolitionist movements. The activism page on this website has information on feminist activist organizations and websites.

And here are some excellent poems on women's history and women's issues (and womyn's and womon's)

"Diving Into the Wreck"

First having read the book of myths,
and loaded the camera,
and checked the edge of the knife-blade,
I put on
the body-armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers

the grave and awkward mask.
I am having to do this
not like Cousteau with his
assiduous team
abroad the sun-flooded schooner
but here alone.
There is a ladder
The ladder is always there
hanging innocently
close to the side of the schooner.
We know what it is for,
we who have used it.
Otherwise
it's a piece of maritime floss
some sundry equipment.

I go down.
Rung after rung and still
the oxygen immerses me
the blue light
the clear atoms
of our human air.
I go down.
My flippers cripple me,
I crawl like an insect down the ladder
and there is no one
to tell me when the ocean
will begin.

First the air is blue and then
it is bluer and then green and then
black I am blacking out and yet
my mask is powerful
it pumps my blood with power
the sea is another story
the sea is not a question of power
I have to learn alone
to turn my body without force
in the deep element.

And now: it is easy to forget
what I came for
among so many who have always
lived here
swaying their crenellated fans
between the reefs
and besides
you breathe differently down here.

I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.
I stroke the beam of my lamp
slowly along the flank
of something more permanent
than fish or week

the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth
the drowned face always staring
toward the sun
the evidence of damage
worn by salt and sway into this threadbare beauty
the ribs of the disaster
curving their assertion
among the tentative haunters.

This is the place.
and I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body
We circle silently
about the wreck
we dive into the hold.
I am she: I am he
whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes
whose breasts still bear the stress
whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies
Obscurely inside barrels
half-wedged and left to rot
we are the half-destroyed instruments
that once held to a course
the water-eaten log
the fouled compass

We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to the scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
in which
our names do not appear.

-Adrienne Rich



"Eight: For Strong Women"

A strong woman is a woman who is straining
A strong woman is a woman standing
on tiptoe and lifting a barbell
while trying to sing "Boris Godunov."
A strong woman is a woman at work
cleaning out the cesspool of the ages,
and while she shovels, she talks about
how she doesn't mind crying, it opens
the ducts of the eyes, and throwing up
develops the stomach muscles, and
she goes on shoveling with tears in her nose.
A strong woman is a woman in whose head
a voice is repeating, I told you so,
ugly, bad girl, bitch, nag, shrill, witch,
ballbuster, nobody will ever love you back,
why aren't you feminine, why aren't
you soft, why aren't you quiet, why aren't you dead?
A strong woman is a woman determined
to do somehing others are determined
not be done. She is pushing up on the bottom
of a lead coffin lid. She is trying to raise
a manhole cover with her head, she is trying
to butt her way through a steel wall.
Her head hurts. People waiting for the hole
to be made say, hurry, you're so strong.
A strong woman is a woman bleeding
inside. A strong woman is a woman making
herself strong every morning while her teeth
loosen and her back throbs. Every baby,
a tooth, midwives used to say, and now
every battle a scar. A strong woman
is a mass of scar tissue that aches
when it rains and wounds that bleed
when you bump them and memories that get up
in the night and pace in boots to and fro.
A strong woman is a woman who craves love
like oxygen or she turns blue choking.
A strong woman is a woman who loves
strongly and weeps strongly and is strongly
terrified and has strong needs. A strong woman is strong
in words, in action, in connection, in feeling;
she is not strong as a stone but as a wolf
suckling her young. Strength is not in her, but she
enacts it as the wind fills a sail.
What comforts her is others loving
her equally for the strength and for the weakness
from which it issues, lightning from a cloud.
Lightning stuns. In rain, the clouds disperse.
Only water of connection remains,
flowing through us. Strong is what we make
each other. Until we are all strong together,
a strong woman is a woman strongly afraid.

-Marge Piercy


"Poem about My Rights"

Even tonight and I need to take a walk and clear

my head about this poem about why I can't

go out without changing my clothes my shoes

my body posture my gender identity my age

my status as a woman alone in the evening/

alone on the streets/alone not being the point/

the point being that I can't do what I want

to do with my own body because I am the wrong

sex the wrong age the wrong skin and

suppose it was not here in the city but down on the beach/

or far into the woods and I wanted to go

there by myself thinking about God/or thinking

about children or thinking about the world/all of it

disclosed by the stars and the silence:

I could not go and I could not think and I could not

stay there

alone

as I need to be

alone because I can't do what I want to do with my own

body and

who in the hell set things up

like this

and in France they say if the guy penetrates

but does not ejaculate then he did not rape me

and if after stabbing him after screams if

after begging the bastard and if even after smashing

a hammer to his head if even after that if he

and his buddies fuck me after that

then I consented and there was

no rape because finally you understand finally

they fucked me over because I was wrong I was

wrong again to be me being me where I was/wrong

to be who I am

which is exactly like South Africa

penetrating into Namibia penetrating into

Angola and does that mean I mean how do you know if

Pretoria ejaculates what will the evidence look like the

proof of the monster jackboot ejaculation on Blackland

and if

after Namibia and if after Angola and if after Zimbabwe

and if after all of my kinsmen and women resist even to

self-immolation of the villages and if after that

we lose nevertheless what will the big boys say will they

claim my consent:

Do You Follow Me: We are the wrong people of

the wrong skin on the wrong continent and what

in the hell is everybody being reasonable about

and according to the Times this week

back in 1966 the C.I.A. decided that they had this problem

and the problem was a man named Nkrumah so they

killed him and before that it was Patrice Lumumba

and before that it was my father on the campus

of my Ivy League school and my father afraid

to walk into the cafeteria because he said he

was wrong the wrong age the wrong skin the wrong

gender identity and he was paying my tuition and

before that

it was my father saying I was wrong saying that

I should have been a boy because he wanted one/a

boy and that I should have been lighter skinned and

that I should have had straighter hair and that

I should not be so boy crazy but instead I should

just be one/a boy and before that

it was my mother pleading plastic surgery for

my nose and braces for my teeth and telling me

to let the books loose to let them loose in other

words

I am very familiar with the problems of the C.I.A.

and the problems of South Africa and the problems

of Exxon Corporation and the problems of white

America in general and the problems of the teachers

and the preachers and the F.B.I. and the social

workers and my particular Mom and Dad/I am very

familiar with the problems because the problems

turn out to be

me

I am the history of rape

I am the history of the rejection of who I am

I am the history of the terrorized incarceration of

my self

I am the history of battery assault and limitless

armies against whatever I want to do with my mind

and my body and my soul and

whether it's about walking out at night

or whether it's about the love that I feel or

whether it's about the sanctity of my vagina or

the sanctity of my national boundaries

or the sanctity of my leaders or the sanctity

of each and every desire

that I know from my personal and idiosyncratic

and disputably single and singular heart

I have been raped

be-

cause I have been wrong the wrong sex the wrong age

the wrong skin the wrong nose the wrong hair the

wrong need the wrong dream the wrong geographic

the wrong sartorial I

I have been the meaning of rape

I have been the problem everyone seeks to

eliminate by forced

penetration with or without the evidence of slime and/

but let this be unmistakable this poem

is not consent I do not consent

to my mother to my father to the teachers to

the F.B.I. to South Africa to Bedford-Stuy

to Park Avenue to American Airlines to the hardon

idlers on the corners to the sneaky creeps in

cars

I am not wrong: Wrong is not my name

My name is my own my own my own

and I can't tell you who the hell set things up like this

but I can tell you that from now on my resistance

my simple and daily and nightly self-determination

may very well cost you your life

-June Jordan


"Her Kind"

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

-Anne Sexton


"Still I Rise"

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

-Maya Angelou


Happy Women's History Month!

Monday, March 03, 2008

all we are is all alone....

Warning: this could be annoying to read.

I am horribly depressed. I went off Prozac sometime within the past week or so, because I lost the bottle and forgot I was supposed to be taking it. The pharmacy won't refill it since I should still have some; I was just there trying to get it. I started Trazadone for sleep - I don't know if that could be making me more depressed? I went to the local NAMI support group tonight. It was okay...

Just everything is hitting me right now. I feel like I am hitting rock bottom, just realizing how badly I've really been doing lately. My apartment is in absolute shambles. I have no job and no prospects for one. I am alone most of the time now, and I hate how isolated I've become. I connect with people through writing on a computer because THAT IS HOW EMPTY MY LIFE ACTUALLY HAS BECOME.

I'm a pathetic, crying mess.

And in the middle of this chaos that is the state of my life, I decide I'm too deluded about my friend and so I destroy my friendship with this person and all in all, I was just trying to have hope for the future, and I was not really that delusional. I mean, my doctor even told me I am not delusional right now....

it doesn't really matter. Delusional or not, the fact is I am really alone in the universe, and I am TIRED of being so alone.

The below is one of my favorite poems. It's why my first email address was eyemote@hotmail. What I want back is what I was - like 15 years ago.

"The Eyemote"

Blameless as daylight I stood looking
At a field of horses, necks bent, manes blown,
Tails streaming against the green
Backdrop of sycamores. Sun was striking
White chapel pinnacles over the roofs,
Holding the horses, the clouds, the leaves

Steadily rooted though they were all flowing
Away to the left like reeds in a sea
When the splinter flew in and stuck my eye,
Needling it dark. Then I was seeing
A melding of shapes in a hot rain:
Horses warped on the altering green,

Outlandish as double-humped camels or unicorns,
Grazing at the margins of a bad monochrome,
Beasts of oasis, a better time.
Abrading my lid, the small grain burns:
Red cinder around which I myself,
Horses, planets and spires revolve.

Neither tears nor the easing flush
Of eyebaths can unseat the speck:
It sticks, and it has stuck a week.
I wear the present itch for flesh,
Blind to what will be and what was.
I dream that I am Oedipus.

What I want back is what I was
Before the bed, before the knife,
Before the brooch-pin and the salve
Fixed me in this parenthesis;
Horses fluent in the wind,
A place, a time gone out of mind.


-Sylvia Plath

medication changes and stigma

Well, I saw my doctor today, and had a few changes made to my medications. Because I've had a problem with Abilify making me vomit for a month now, she's taking me off of Abilify. This is unfortunate, because that was the last medication for me to try that does not cause weight gain.

I reminded her how much weight I've gained from Invega, and she decreased the dosage. Luckily, I didn't gain any more weight this past month, but that might have been because of the Abilify.

Because I have not been sleeping, I asked to be put on Trazadone, which worked for me years ago for sleep. So she put me on that. She also increased my Seroquel, even though it's known for causing weight gain, because it can help me sleep, and sleep is seen, I guess, as more important than weight loss.

I'm still on the same dosages of Prozac, Klonopin, and Inderal, so nothing else was changed. She said she didn't want to change too many things at once, so...

I'm happy that the Invega was finally lowered a little bit, but it was only lowered a little tiny bit. I am still on 9 mgs of it which is not a low dosage or anything. I was on 12 mgs which is the highest that is recommended to ever take. I'd like to get off of it completely, and I tried to emphasize that to the doctor.

She said she really wanted me to get down to two antipsychotics instead of three, and I agreed that was a good idea.

I just didn't want to go off of Abilify, because even though it makes me sick to my stomach every day, or at least every other day, I know it doesn't cause weight gain, and I was thinking of it as my only hope.

Speaking of stupid thoughts, I told the doctor that I was having some trouble with somewhat delusional thoughts about a guy, and she said if I know it's not real, then it's not really a delusion. It's called something else, some medical term for "messed up thought", which I can't remember. I explained that I knew I wasn't doing as well as I should be when I have these kinds of thoughts. But I haven't been hearing voices or anything, and I'm not psychotic, so that is obviously a good thing.

I ran out of Restoril a couple days ago, and I was up all night (literally, until 8 am) last night, so I hope that the Trazadone works; it's supposed to be covered by my insurance, which Restoril isn't, and it's not addictive, which I like. I don't really like taking things that are addictive and hard to stop taking. I only take a really small dosage of Klonopin, and I only take it when I need it, although that is usually every night, since I have so much trouble sleeping.

I asked the doctor about some research I've read on Schizophrenia.com, about a drug called Metforin (Metformin?) being used on people taking antipsychotics to help them lose weight, and being successful. She had not heard about this, so she said she would look it up and ask the medical director at the community mental health center if he has heard of it. I should have not lost the article after I printed it out to show it to her, but I did, so hopefully she will look it up. Apparently, this drug is used typically on people with Diabetes, but has been used in research on people taking antipsychotics, even when they do NOT have Diabetes so they can lose weight.

Anyway, this is what's going on with my medications these days.

In other news, on the importance of taking medications, the book I just read called Crazy, was really interesting and reiterates over and over how bad things can get when people with Schizophrenia stop taking their medications. It also discusses how people with mental illnesses are treated in the criminal justice system, with a lot of horrific examples of how things can go badly for people in that situation. This reminds me, there is a commercial on TV running today about the local news, and it says, "This man has Paranoid Schizophrenia? Why was he allowed to roam free to commit crimes??" as it describes a story that is going to be on the news about a criminal who has Schizophrenia.

I am so sick of stories like this! You never hear the news stories about people with Schizophrenia leading quiet, peaceful, productive lives and not bothering anyone. You never even hear about how many people with this disease are VICTIMS of crime, not perpetrators of crime, although becoming a victim is far more likely. You don't hear stories about people with cancer who get caught committing some crime discussed as though the people with cancer are ALL just a bunch of DANGEROUS felons. So why all the news stories about the DANGEROUS people with Schizophrenia?? Stories like this do nothing but add to the stigma in our society that already prevents many people from getting the help they need for their illness, and prevents the public from being properly educated about the disease.

I should probably write a letter to the news channel that is airing this story. Maybe I will.

Once, when I was working for the nonprofit agency that I used to work for, which provides services to people with disabilities, a manager said with outrage that some man with Schizophrenia had called asking for help finding a job - which is what her program did, help people with disabilities find jobs (only, not apparently psychiatric disabilities). I said, "So - what do you mean, we don't help people with Schizophrenia?" naively. She said, "Well, not if they're dangerous! Of course not!" I was amazed and disgusted. I thought this woman, who was highly educated and had many years of experience in her field, was smarter than that. I almost said, "Do you think I'm dangerous?" But I decided not to say anything. I just kept my mouth shut, afraid what would happen if people at my job found out about my illness. I eventually told one person at the job that I had this diagnosis, but I was afraid to tell the rest of them. The whole agency was mired in the stigma of mental illness being "different" than other illnesses and disabilities. It was really outrageous to me, but it didn't seem to bother anybody else.

When NAMI had a walk for awareness for National Mental Illness Awareness Week, I wrote an email to everybody I worked with to let them know about it, and mentioned that we shouldn't differentiate between psychiatric disabilities and other disabilitis. The only person who responded to that email was my boss; all the dozens of other people who received it said nothing. I thought that was very telling. It's not that the people I worked with were especially ignorant or were discriminating more than other people do, but they were just like the general public, in that they viewed mental illness as something different from other illnesses and debilitating disabilities. When I ended up having to go to the hospital, I had to tell people in management that I was on the psychiatric ward, because someone had started telling people that I was not really in the hospital, when the hospital staff would not break confidentiality laws to tell her I was really there. After I mentioned the ward I was on, I got treated like I had just come out of the closet with too much information. It was very disheartening. The people were not trying to be mean, but most of them weren't trying too hard to understand either. I think I broke some unspoken rule that you just don't talk about things like mental illness in your workplace. As if we are ever going to get rid of ALL THE STIGMA without TALKING about it???

The only way things are ever going to change is if more people do talk about it, and talk about the diagnosis they have, the medications they take, and the fact that they are NOT dangerous criminals just because they have an illness like Schizophrenia. The only way things are going to change is if people with mental illness stop hiding in shame and start talking more openly about their disorders. I think that more people need to do that in order for real change to take place. I know it is hard to do though, because there are consequences with speaking out about your illness, and one of them is you could end up being ostracized.

Okay, I'll get off my soapbox for now!

a weird blogger thing

Something strange has been happening, and I think it must be a glitch with blogger. The only other option is that it is someone hacking into this blog, and I'd rather not think that something that strange is going on.
I keep getting emails that say I, under my sign-in name here, sent posts from this blog to me, at an old email address that I stopped using years ago, and they are getting sent back to me, as spam at my new email address.
Sound weird to you? I don't understand how it's happening, but if anybody gets posts from this blog emailed to them, they're not coming from me, so I just wanted to mention it in case it happens to someone else.

miscellany

I can't sleep, again. I ran out of Restoril. I realized that I ran out of Prozac too - about a week ago, or somehow I lost the bottle. So the lack of my antidepressant combined with hormonal issues would be making me more depressed and angst-filled than usual right now.
I feel very angst-filled.
I am disturbed by my own behavior in recent days, writing all these posts I deleted. I wish I could take a surgical tool and remove the subject that I was writing about from my brain and never think about it too much again. But I can't. Mr. Wonderful stopped talking to me, which shouldn't come as a real shocker considering I told him I was having trouble with my thoughts regarding him, and am sure this would make anyone feel odd and uncomfortable about talking to a person.
I feel, again, uneasy with the solitude in my life. Otherwise known as being lonely, but it's getting kind of old talking to this blog about how lonely I am.

I got my nails done today! They look nice. I went to the movies with my mother. I finished reading Crazy: A Father's Journey Through America's Mental Health Madness, which was a pretty good book. I didn't accomplish much else though. My apartment needs a lot of work. I don't feel motivated to do it, because of depression, I guess.

There are a lot of things I need to do which I just don't feel up to doing these days. I know that, like I said, some of this is hormonal, and some is probably medication related. I go to my doctor tomorrow; I'll get some more Prozac.

I am a little worried about seeing the doctor because, I REALLY, REALLY want to get off Invega ASAP as I have gained so much weight from it. I DO NOT want to take that drug for another week much less another year. The problem is that we had a plan whereby I would replace Invega with Abilify, but I've been vomiting from taking Abilfiy for a month now; apparently my stomach cannot tolerate that stuff. I kept taking it thinking the problem would stop, but it hasn't. So I am now going to have to tell the doctor to take me off two of my antipsychotic medications, and ask her to prescribe something in replacement of them. I don't know if she will be willing to do this; that is the problem. If she's not, I'm looking for a new doctor; in fact, I've already picked one out. I think he might be better actually, so I am thinking about going to see him. I will give my doctor at the community mental health center another try first, though.
Ok, it' three AM now, so I'm going to attempt to sleep again.

This is one of my favorite songs. I was just listening to it. It's by Ani Difranco, my favorite musician:

"Dilate"

life used to be life-like
now it's more like show biz
i wake up in the night
and i don't know where the bathroom is
and i don't know what town i'm in
or what sky i am under
and i wake up in the darkness and i
don't have the will anymore to wonder
everyone has a skeleton
and a closet to keep it in
and you're mine
every song has a you
a you that the singer sings to
and you're it this time
baby, you're it this time

when i need to wipe my face
i use the back of my hand
and i like to take up space
just because i can
and i use my dress
to wipe up my drink
i care less and less
what people think
and you are so lame
you always disappoint me
it's kinda like our running joke
but it's really not funny
i just want you to live up to
the image of you i create
i see you and i'm so unsatisfied
i see you and i dilate

so i'll walk the plank and i'll jump with a smile
if i'm gonna go down
i'm gonna do it with style
and you won't see me surrender
you won't hear me confess
'cuz you've left me with nothing
but i've worked with less
and i learn every room long enough
to make it to the door
and then i hear it click shut behind me
and every key works differently
i forget every time
and the forgetting defines me
that's what defines me

when i say you sucked my brain out
the english translation
is i am in love with you
and it is no fun
but i don't use words like love
'cuz words like that don't matter
but don't look so offended
you know, you should be flattered
i wake up in the night
in some big hotel bed
my hands grope for the light
my hands grope for my head
the world is my oyster
the road is my home
and i know that i'm better
off alone

Hope

I got this guy, who shall be known as Mr. Wonderful, mixed up in my head with all of my Hope for the Future.

I began to only think, with hope, for the future, when I thought about a future with him in it. I began to use the concept of him to fill in for all of the emptiness in my life.

There have a been a lot of empty holes, crevasses even, like not going to a certain college when I had the opportunity to go there on a big scholarship, not going to any other colleges I got admitted to, not finishing college a long time ago, not keeping or getting certain jobs, not having friends, not having boyfriends, not being in love with other people besides Mr. Wonderful and one person after him, and other areas....where Mr. Wonderful and the Fantasy of Him filled in the empty space.

I did not know what else to do, but fill in the empty space with something, so I took something out of my imagination and used that. I freely admit this, because I think it is only the result of normal human flaws, and that it also became more grandiose than it would have otherwise been because I have a mental illness that makes me prone to delusional thinking.

I am not saying I totally imagined Mr. Wonderful - he's real, of course. I just imagined this whole future with him in it. Really, I have done this with other people as well. I imagine a fake ridiculously impossible future with my ex-boyfriend for a while which led me to staying with him when I should have broken up with him a year ago. When I was really sick, I imagined a relationship with Anderson Cooper, who I thought (I didn't know he was gay then) was my soulmate and my "Illuminati" husband for the New World Order (this is when I was not on medication). I used to think about Andy all the time too, just like I think about Mr. Wonderful.

So I know that this distorted thinking is a problem I am prone to having, and I know that there are reasons why I have this problem. What I do not really know is how to GET RID of the problem. I have read that in people with Schizophrenia, fixed delusions can remain even when other symptoms are stabilized by medication. You just end up having to live with the delusion. I don't want to have to live like that for another eleven years.

It doesn't help matters that Mr. Wonderful is real, and not out of reach like Anderson Cooper. It doesn't help that I am used to telling him everything and sharing with him the things I don't talk about with anyone else. It doesn't help that he's like my closest confidante. These facts make it harder to rid myself of the delusion about him being a part of my future.

On occasions, Mr. Wonderful has said things that he probably just said because he was trying to be nice to me, but which ended up giving me false hopes that he would want to meet me in the future and things like that. I should have just told him directly not to mislead me with these kinds of statements, since he obviously is just saying this stuff and does not mean it. But then, deep down, I would hope....and hope got mixed up with his name and his email address. H-O-P-E.

Now, it is time for me to figure out how to have hope for the future in a future WITHOUT Mr. Wonderful in it. Because, the fact is, he has no desire to be part of my future, and pretending like he does is only doing me a lot more harm than good.

I might end up deleting this post later, but I will leave it here for now in case anybody can relate to this problem.

Thanks for coming by.

being ostracized from family

There are some things I don't discuss much here, and, as you may have noticed, there are some things I regret having discussed here now. So I am going to discuss one thing I don't usually talk about. It has to do with my family.

When I got sick and was first delusional, a major delusion I had, which I thought explained a lot of my symptoms, was that I had been sexually abused as a child and blocked out the memories of it. I was not diagnosed with anything, except depression, and then I was diagnosed with PTSD and a dissociative disorder, because I would go to therapists, and later to hospitals - and in particular one in Washington D.C. with a trauma treatment program - and I would say, I have these recovered memories of abuse, and I have problems with wanting to die, and wanting to cut myself or starve myself, and I can't concentrate or think well anymore, and I can't remember anything, and I think I'm dissociating all the time.

And so I was marked with this label of the abuse victim/survivor. Only, the trouble is, what happened next. Eventually, I ended up not just thinking I was abused by my grandfather, but also by my dad. Then I thought it was more than them, it was a whole Satantic cult that somebody got me involved in when I was a kid (this was all imagined). Then I thought my bigger delusions about the Masons, and the mafia and the government being after me...and that I was programmed by mind control.

All that evolved over some time though. Some years. So during the beginning of those years, when I thought it was family members who abused me, I became very concerned that these family members were currently abusing other kids in my family. So I reported them to the police and the social services departments in the states where they live.

In one case, I was in the hospital when I reported my dad. I was psychotic, and this fact seemed to be lost on everyone around me because I did not know I was psychotic, I just thought I was having "flashbacks" all the time. I wasn't having flashbacks, though.

My dad, by that point, had already stopped talking to me long beforehand. It was six years that went by where my father and I did not speak, because of this delusion.

Six years.

I have an alcoholic pervert of a grandfather, who sits in his living room masturbating and watching porn in front of people, so I ended up having the delusion that he abused me as well. I knew this like I know the back of my hand, and I thoroughly believed it happened. I was even afraid sleeping in his house as an adult that this old man was going to come in and rape me in the middle of the night, so I would pile books and chairs and things by the door so he couldn't get in when I once stayed at his house.

I told a lot of people that this person abused me, and to be quite frank, I am still not sure that he didn't abuse me. My dad himself has said he thought my grandfather abuse me. So how am I to know what may or may not have happened when I was too young to form permanent memories? But most of the time, I think, I was delusional and imagined this.

The thing is, I told this grandfather what he did to me, or what I thought he did, that is, and I told the police, and they interviewed him. That was like six years ago. He still hates me to this day. I have gone through many hospital trips, long-term hospitalization, living in a group home, therapy and support groups and many many many medications, and these grandparents still do not believe that my accusations were the result of my mental illness. They think I did something intentionally mean to them by making up lies. That is not the case, and I have tried explaining this to them more than once, and I have apologized to them more than once.

So, now my grandparents are about 80 years old, and I would like to visit them because I haven't seen them in years and they have health problems. My mother decided to take a trip to Maryland to see them, and asked me if I would like to come along. I said I would go, but I would have to stay in a hotel because I know they don't want me in their house. Oh, no, no, she said. They won't mind you being in their house now. They know you have a mental illness.

But they told her later that they do mind me being in their house, and they do not want me there. That makes me feel great. It makes me feel almost as great as I feel about the fact that all my other - and there are a lot of them - relatives in Maryland, also never talk to me, because they do not understand or want to understand that I have a mental illness, or they do not care enough about me or my brother or sister to ever call any of us on the phone at all, ever.

I don't like to go where I am not wanted, so I have no desire to call up any of these people who I never hear from and ask them if I can stay with them for a few days. That would be uncomfortable an humiliating.

Then there are my dad's parents. The last time I saw them was when they kicked me out of their house 8 or 9 years ago. I had called the police on my dad because I thought he was going to kill me. My grandmother said, "You need a psychiatrist", and they put all my stuff in trash bags and left them waiting for me; then they aske for their key back. I ended up living in a homeless shelter for months, and then in my car for a few weeks. I had nowhere to turn to because my family all treated me like I had Leprosy.

If I had known then that I had Schizophrenia, I could have gotten the proper medication and I could have understood I was having delusions, like I came to realize years later. I could have explained the illness to my family too. But I was not diagnosed and I did not know what was really going on.

I wanted to share this here, because I think it is hard for many families to understand the mental illness of someone and that often people are blamed for doing things that upset others because no one understands that the reason the person did this was a mental illness.

I am planning on joining NAMI in speaking to the local police department as part of their Crisis Intervention Training, and when I speak to them, I plan on mentioning that I called the police to report these crimes about my family members when I was psychotic, and I hope that in some way, I am making up for the problem that I caused and making amends by having things come full circle like this.

I just really wish my grandparents were not so bitter towards me, because I hate to think that they are getting old enough to the point that they may not be around much longer, and they still harbor t his resentment towards me for things I said when I was out of my mind and hallucinating. My grandmother does send me emails and cards and talks to me on the phone, but when it comes to staying at her house, apparently she does not feel that she can allow that. Meanwhile, my grandfather sits on a chair every night in his living room getting completely drunk by choice, never admits he has a problem, never seeks treatment, and everyone in the family and in the surrounding neighborhood knows about his drinking problem. But I am the horrible person because I have a mental illness that I fail to be able to fix. Oh well.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

update

Sorry to anybody reading this but I don't know how to delete an entire post without writing something there; hence, the 'deleted' ones.

I had to delete some thing I wrote here because I was not comfortable announcing my innermost nonsense to the world. As my ex-boyfriend used to tell me all the time, I wear my heart on my sleeve and it's not a good trait to have.

The things I deleted were only important to write to myself, and they don't need to be seen by anybody else.

Also, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has taken time to read my writing here and leave comments. It's really nice to get that feedback from you, and I appreciate it very much.

Not much else is new here. I am having some problems with motivation and I don't know what to do about that. But not much else is new.

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