Monday, October 29, 2012

Some improvements

This morning I saw my psychiatrist, and explained how I had been emailing with someone and how I have the propensity to become obsessed with people due to OCD, but she did not seem concerned about it, because she said it was better to be obsessed with something that makes me happy than to have obsessive thoughts of the Holocaust happening again. And I guess she has a point there! I just don't want to become too much like I got before with the guy, Kevin, that I told you about and I don't think I will but I know myself and my obsessive thinking and how it gets. So the doctor said to watch out for that. And well, she didn't seem to think planning a trip to New Zealand was wise considering this guy and I have only spoken to each other once, I can't imagine what is wrong with....yeah. So that is that. But I will talk to him again because I like him and he puts a big smile on my face.

Then my new recovery specialist came to visit. The mental health agency that owns my apartment let me into their supportive living program which means I have a case worker who comes and visits me right now every week. She is really nice, and we discussed voices and the things that I hear when I get auditory hallucinations because she would like me to work on some positive affirmations to combat those messages. Have any of you ever tried this and found it to be helpful? I think I have tried it, but it was a long time ago, and I can't remember right now. I'm not entirely sure how to combat the messages. What would I say to them? I already say things automatically like, "NO there is no Holocaust happening right now. No, I'm not a CIA spy. No, I'm not going to die in a concentration camp. No, I didn't just give you information about government secrets." But I guess I will need to come up with something more creative than that, because that doesn't really work well.

The good thing is, I haven't been having a lot of auditory hallucinations lately. I think this is because the Navane/Latuda/Risperdal Consta is working and that with my huge collection of drugs in my body, something has finally kicked in and has knocked the auditory hallucinations out of their primary spot. I also think it's because I have gotten into the more "negative symptom" phase of psychosis. You see, there are two types of psychotic symptoms, according to the shrinks. Positive symptoms are things like hearing voices, which I am not having a lot of right now. Other positive symptoms are delusions, visual hallucinations, and olfactory hallucinations, all of which I've had many times. Then the opposite side of the coin is the "negative symptoms" (things that should be there but aren't there), so you have apathy, avolition, all the words that start with "a", basically, and a lot of staring off into space and doing nothing, which I am still doing sometimes.

Last night for example, I knew the recovery specialist was coming over so I should tidy up and vacuum, but I neglected to do so until this morning, and then I didn't have time to vacuum at all. Before I had a recovery specialist visiting me, nobody would have noticed if the vacuum had been run or not, because nobody came over, except for the pest control guy who said he didn't want to come inside apartment anymore, allegedly. But now that she comes every week, I have a reason to care if the place is vacuumed. In fact, I will have to vacuum it by next week specifically because I myself pointed out to her today that it needed to be done, and she said she had already noticed this fact. So, in this manner, getting myself into the supported living program has been helpful for the simple fact that someone is there to notice how I am doing. And when I am left to my own devices, frankly I often don't do too well.

In a couple weeks some cleaning service is going to come out and I'm going to pay them to do some stuff, I'm not sure exactly what all they do. This seems really weird to me, because I have always been one of those people who thinks there is something categorically wrong with people paying other people to clean up after them. But the recovery specialist said that many of her clients use cleaning services because they find cleaning too overwhelming. And in any event, this might just be a one-time thing that I do. Just to freshen things up better than I've done on my own. This is all very embarrassing, but as my friend Kate mentioned recently, I am very honest on this blog, and it wouldn't really be worth reading if I wasn't. So that is that. There will be people I pay to mop my floors. Once a month for a little while.

In other news, if you live in Pinellas County, this week is Crisis Intervention Training, and I will not be speaking this time, but I will be there as a back-up in case anyone can't make it. The graduation ceremony for the law enforcement officers who participate in this 40-hour training on mental illness will be held this Friday at 3 PM at Suncoast Hospice.







giddy


I talked to the guy in New Zealand, A., and realized he is definitely not the CIA, and not anybody else who I had confused him with, because I dialed his cell phone through skype on my computer. And he is really funny, which I did not know from his emails, because humor comes across better on the phone I guess. And he is really sweet, which I did know from his emails.

And I know we are separated by oceans, so probably nothing real like - I don't know - happy ever after marriage - can come from this, but at the same time, I am having fun. Real fun. And I felt giddy for HOURS after I got off the phone/computer! Which is a lot better than I've felt in a long time.

He said he's going to start swimming here tomorrow.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

update

So, I'm pretty sure the guy who I've been emailing with on the other side of the world is not the CIA.

Is this a sign of improvement?

He sent me a bunch of pictures of himself and his child. He is also very sincere it seems and sweet, which i don't think the CIA could fake.

Congratulations to my mom on being in a recovery program for 13 years. Tomorrow night I will go to her ceremony, and I am proud of her for that.

Why to vote for Obama (we interrupt this broadcast for a brief commercial message)


I'm going to take a break from the usual focus of this blog, which is, namely, myself, and start going on a political rant here. Okay, so if you don't like that concept, feel free not to read this. But really, if you don't like it, you are the one I am writing it for.

Okay so here's the thing. I'm a feminist. A lot of people tell me they relate to this blog, and I wonder what they mean by that. I never really know. But people don't usually tell me, "I relate because I'm a feminist." So let me tell you something about why I'm a feminist. When I was about five, I was a big fan of my first feminist role model, Miss Piggy. I really loved how, even though she adored Kermie, she would give him those karate chop kicks in the leg every time he ticked her off, and say, "HAY-YA!!!" I thought that was pretty cool. So I looked around me at the women in my life, and I saw a lot of women who were wives, and mothers, and did not have jobs outside the home, and who were subservient to their husbands, and took orders like servants. And I thought to myself, "This deal is not for me." So I started telling my ultra-conservative, Nixon-loving, Republican grandfather, "I will never let any man tell me what to do." I started doing this when I was like eight years old. He got a real rise out of that. He was like, "You go put that in writing right now." So I did. I wrote these documents. And this is what they said, stuff like, "I, Jennifer Middle name Last name at the Intelligent Age of nine hereby do declare that I shall never be tied by a ball and chain to any man and I will never make any man's dinner every day like a slave and I will never get married." And then I would get people to notarize my "affidavits", as they were called *(I remember when I learned what the word "affidavit" meant by doing this). The notaries would be my aunts and uncles and grandmother. So my grandfather, he kept these documents all my life, hidden away. Unfortunately something happened to some of them, that I don't have them all anymore, but they were really freakin' hilarious the last time I saw them.

So this is just to say, how I became a feminist. When I was about 15, Anita Hill went to the Congress to state that Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her. Every single person I knew, every adult (kids didn't know anything about it), said, "I can't believe this lying wench making up these lies about a good man. What a bitch!". I will never forget reading in Ms. Magazine that feminists actually BELIEVED Anita Hill. And then I thought, "Wow! This is mind blowing. What if she is telling the truth."

And so I became a reader of Ms. Magazine, and Gloria Steinem books, and a feminist. Today, I'm on the state board for the National Organization for Women where I live and the local chapter board, and I go to rallies like one last week where  Gloria Steinem was speaking. And I love knowing other feminists.

One thing I have learned from feminists is the value of a woman's right to choose what happens to her own body. And if Mitt Romney becomes President, he has already vowed to overturn Roe v. Wade by putting Justices on the Supreme Court who will strike it down. He believes life begins at conception. As Gloria Steinem said, "if people like this had their way, a pregnant woman would get two votes." He is the most anti-choice, dangerous candidate for women this country has seen in a really, really long time.

So I am telling you, if you care about women's rights, and you don't want to see poor women not be able to get the healthcare they need at Planned Parenthood clinics - DON'T vote for Mitt Romney.

Now I'm just going to summarize some of the other reasons to vote for Obama.

Obama is not anti-gay marriage. Obama created a healthcare plan, and imperfect though it may be, it is going to provide healthcare to millions of uninsured people who need healthcare, such as people with mental illnesses like a lot of people I've known in my life who have no way to get the medications they need. Mitt Romney will overturn the healthcare bill and get rid of it all. Mitt Romney will cut funding for mental health treatment and  research and will not care to support social services. Obama will not be perfect, but he will be on the side of the people far more than Romney is. Romney is a wealthy aristocrat whose proof of the fact that he really likes American cars is "my dad owned a car company." Romney is so far removed from knowing that women are intelligent, capable, professional people that he had to have "whole binders full of women" brought to him so he could see that they were, and this story itself isn't even true, it's just a pathetic lie he made up to try to get women to vote for his stupid self.

The main reason why I'm voting for Obama is that Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala, running for the Green Party, stand no chance of winning the election, so I have to vote for Obama, because he is the only choice that is acceptable out of the two who are running. And that is all.

Oh, and Obama doesn't want to start a war with Iran or declare economic warfare on China, or any other stupid war mongering bullcrap that Romney intends to do. Yes, he is not perfect. Yes there are drones. But there will be less chance of World War III literally happening, and not just happening in my delusions, if Obama is reelected.

Now, please do the world a favor and go to the polls and VOTE if you live in the U.S. because women fought for 150 years to get this right for you, and we didn't get it until August, 1920, which was a few years before my grandmother was born, meaning my great-grandmother couldn't vote because she wasn't considered a citizen yet. SO VOTE!!! AND VOTE OBAMA.

End of political speech.

I'll go back to rambling about my life soon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dreaming the impossible dream can be a waste of time




A few years ago, I wrote a post about a guy named Kevin which I didn't delete like I deleted all the other posts I wrote about him, various and sundry though they were.

So here's the thing. The saga with my mental illness coincided a lot with the invention of the internet. The internet came into my life around 1996, right when I started some of my first delusions about having been abused, and after I had already been obsessed with weight loss and suicidally depressed for years. So the thing is, when I met this guy on the internet, on a suicide message board, before I even had my first email account, and his name was Kevin, and he had just recently gotten out of prison, and he was there for depression support on this website, and I was suicidally depressed, and he liked my depressing poems, I thought, "Oh! True love!"

Yes, that sounds dumb, but I was 21 or 22 at the time. Okay? So you do dumb things. He was really witty, and made me laugh a lot, and was fun to talk to through email and on the phone. We would talk on the phone, at first, a lot, and he sent me a dozen roses and told me he loved me. I was hooked.

It didn't last. I never met him in person. I got obsessed with him. I kept emailing him even when he stopped writing back to me hardly at all, and this went on for years, and years, and years. It is now 2012, I just emailed him last week. Yeah. But this is after him not communicating with me at all for the past four years as.  He emailed me like two weeks ago, to then say that he is no longer going to communicate with me anymore, again. This is because of something I said. We have never met. He has never wanted to meet me. He refused to talk to me on the phone anymore years ago. He has had real girlfriends, and has never really loved me or pretended to except in the beginning. He has two kids from his last girlfriend. He couldn't really care less about me or if I'm dead or alive.

And the thing is, the thing that is absolutely insane, is that I would still love to hear from him.

So then, there is the other aspect. Is he a CIA agent? I have wondered about this for years. Literally, for like about 8 years maybe more now. I have wondered. If he was my "handler". I know you think I'm weird for saying this, I know it sounds crazy, I know. But the thing is, I lived in Washington D.C. and had a very strange life, and I thought that this guy emailing me was my mind control handler.

Who I loved.

So.......needless to say nothing came of it but endless pain and heartache.

So then, when this guy who I will not name, who says he is NOT Kevin started emailing me telling me he lives in New Zealand (Kevin lives in Washington D.C. supposedly now), and that he is attracted to me and finds that he understands me and he also has schizoaffective disorder, my first thought was, oh, it's Kevin again. And my second thought was, oh, it's the CIA again.

And that has been - those two thoughts - have been controlling my mind for weeks now. This has got to stop. I really like this guy. He is incredibly sweet, and if he didn't live in New Zealand, and I believed he was real and not a CIA agent or a made-up persona, and I could meet him for coffee, I would do it. But that is not the case. So instead of going back into a 15-year situation of heartache that drags on, and on, and on, and never freakin' ends, I just finally had to say to him, "I am sorry but we cannot email each other every day, nothing good will ever come of this".

Do you think I'm a terrible person for doing that?

Do you think it's the CIA or that it's Kevin in disguise?

Do you think that it's really this heartbroken person in New Zealand (which makes me feel terrible)?

I don't know what to think. That's the trouble with the internet. You never really know who is behind those pixels on the screen. You should never, ever fall in love with those pixels, because it will rip your heart to shreds. This much I learned the hard way. And you should never become obsessed with a person, because no one is worth being obsessed with and idolizing over. Particularly if you have OCD.

So that is my personal issue that I never talk about on this blog because I am always afraid Kevin will find the blog and read it and hate me. But what difference does it make? He is no longer talking to me (again) at all, so it doesn't matter. This is my life I'm talking about on my blog, and I'm not giving you his last name or any identifying information. This might not even be his real name. So I'm just telling you, I can't describe to you how much this relationship has affected my life, but it has been a major aspect of my life since like 1997.

I used to go to internet cafes and Kinkos and libraries, when I didn't have a computer, and when I was homeless and living in shelters, just to email Kevin. And my heart would drop if he didn't write to me, and my life would light up with glitter if he did. And that is truly sad. The worst part is, I never got over him.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The good, the bad, and the ugly



The good.......

Last night I took a bath. This is a real plus these days.

I have ALL clean laundry now, and it is ALL folded and put away.

I am wearing a nice dress. The new caseworker and the two people who work behind the counter at the Subway I go to a lot told me I looked really nice in it. This is a plus, because last week I was wearing dirty clothes I picked up off my bathroom floor. Yeah.

I am wearing make up, including eye shadow and blush. I am a feminist; I'm not saying you need make up. But what I am saying is, I happen to like how I look in make up, and the fact I have worn none much of the time in recent months is a sign that I have been unwell. So today I am doing better.

My apartment is really, really clean.



The bad........

I still think this guy emailing me is a CIA agent.

I've been thinking this for weeks, even though I have been emailing with him every day.

This is really disconcerting.

My apartment was so disgusting I almost got evicted for it. This is pathetic.

I couldn't clean without the assistance of my friend telling me, "Put this there. Put this here. Straighten this. Mop this." Because I can get dressed and put on make up but I can't make my brain work.

I'm sick and tired of people trying to get government secrets from me on the phone at my job.

Mild auditory hallucinations are still annoying.

I think a lot about obsessive things.

I spend inordinate amounts of time staring into space........straight ahead.........looking at the wall........doing nothing.........just breathing.


The ugly.........

I'm 37, when is life going to get better than this?

I don't think I can function well enough to study abroad even if I could get a scholarship to go.

I don't think I can function enough to apply for a scholarship to go to study abroad, so the point is all mute.

I had to admit to the case worker today that all I have been eating is fast food and it is not just because I do not know how to cook. I didn't really mention that it is because I do not CARE to know how to cook.

I am never going to find a husband, and my whole family thinks I'm a lesbian, which is fine really, because I don't care what they think, and I have nothing but love for gay people, but the fact of the matter is I've never dated a woman before. So the thing is, I'm sick of people judging me for NOT having a stupid BOYFRIEND all the goddamn TIME.

The truth is I couldn't care less if I ever have a boyfriend again most of the time.

Sometimes I still think there's a microchip in my body the CIA is using to monitor me, and there are voice recorders in my car.

I guess this is enough for now.



CIA

I had a visit from a new case worker who will be coming to visit me regularly for a little while. I think she is very nice, and likeable. We discussed hiring a cleaning service for me but I don't have the funds to really hire one to come out a lot. So that might not work out. But she said my apartment doesn't look bad at all, so that was good to hear.

Of course Ribbit almost bit her. He does that with everyone who comes over here lately. He is like a possessed little demon, or perhaps, as I told my friend K., "he's having a manic episode". She said she would give him some of her Seroquel. Obviously this is just a JOKE! But he is a real brat sometimes. It's rather embarrassing. My case manager who I've known for seven years is used to him and still a little afraid of him. Ribbit is a sweet cat; he just doesn't like a lot of visitors. He gets jealous of them taking away my attention or something. Seriously, every time I pet the other cat, Spooky, Ribbit attacks her out of jealousy. He's rather violent to her. She's an abuse victim. I think she now has PTSD from this.

Anyway, I don't want to talk about my apartment anymore on here, because I'm not comfortable talking about here now. So I'm not going to go into it. But there is nothing new to say about it. It's clean.

I do wnat your advice on something. Someone has been writing to me and telling me that he reads my blog, and has been telling me that he is attracted to me, and has given me his phone number in New Zealand. I don't know what to make of this. He seems  incredibly nice, but I feel quite sure it's really the CIA trying to give me a new mind control  handler. What do you think? I am quite convinced that the person I used to be in love with who I emailed with and never met in person (for fifteen years!) was a CIA mind control handler. I have plenty of reasons for this.

Oh, by the way thank you to the person who informed me my email address was  still on this blog and it had my last name in it. It has been removed.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Function, self, function, cuz it's a hard knock life.





So, my apartment is clean now. Much thanks go to my friend K. who came over yesterday and helped. She has offered to help before, but I said no, because it was too embarrassing. This time I said yes, so that was probably good. She is the only friend I have who would do my laundry for me or wash my dishes, and the only one I'd allow to do it. So, embarrassing or not, it helped. She also has what she calls "undiagnosed OCD" making her a real neat-nick, so she is obsessed with organizing things perfectly. I will never find my cereal again, because it's where it should be, in some cupboard, but I appreciated this assistance. I said, "K., if that's how OCD affects you, I wish it affected me the same way". She says I should come see her closets sometime, because all of her clothing is in order by color and probably by alphabetical names or something, I don't know. When she started wanting to organize my closet at 11 PM, I was finally like, "OK, I think we've done ENOUGH NOW!!" because that was simply more than I could handle. I was really tired.

Part of my trouble with housework is that, even when I can mentally wrap my mind around what needs to be done, I physically get exhausted and in severe pain before it's ever done. Thanks to freakin' Fibromyalgia, the simple tasks like vaccuuming or mopping that should be easy, are not easy at all. They are actually really hard for me to do. So that is why I resorted to asking for help. First I got help from my case manager who came by Friday to visit me. I got started because, with her here, and her knowing the situation with the landlord, obviously I could not continue sitting and staring at the wall, so I forced myself to get started. Then later that day, my mom came over. But that wasn't exactly helpful. Per usual, she just spent the entire time screaming at me. Things like, "You are going to end up on the streets when they evict you and you are NOT coming to live with ME EVER!!!" No, really? I was just dying to live with a maniac who verbally abused me all my life. Please, can't I live with you? Heh.

She also said, the always helpful, "You are NOT right in the head and you need a new PSYCHIATRIST because YOUR DOCTOR OBVIOUSLY DOES NOT KNOW WHAT SHE IS DOING!!!"

This is coming from a person who, just a week ago, started screaming at total strangers in a movie theater for taking the seats she wanted, and telling a man, "YOU ARE AN IGNORANT PERSON!!!"

But later she did say to me, "I remember all the years when my house was such a mess we couldn't have people over, and when you were growing up and no one could come over." So she recalls that she has often been just as much a slob as I am. And nobody ever screamed at her about it.

Anyway, the point is my place is pretty well clean now. And yesterday, I forced myself to go to this rally where Gloria Steinem was speaking, because she has been a role model to me for much of my life. But I have to really force myself to do things, because I am so apathetic, I don't really care to do anything at all. I am still not sure if the apathy is from psychosis or depression. I just feel rather dead. I have a lot of work to do for school, too, and I have to force myself to get that done somehow. But the good part about school is that on my legal brief for my law class, which I thought was terrible, I got a "B", and my professor told me, if I hadn't totally forgotten to do two sections of it, I would have had a perfect score. So that was good, I guess.

The main problem right now is that I am stuck in a state of stasis, where it is like I need an injection of jet fuel to get me moving. I feel like I could just sit and think for days, without doing anything at all, and it wouldn't bother me. I am slowed down. I wish I knew what was causing this. Well, time to go force myself to do some more work. There is still more housework to do. "It's a hard knock life, for us..." (Annie was my favorite movie in the 80's).

Thank you for your comments on my recent posts!

Friday, October 19, 2012

I like this song.

That is all I feel like posting here right now, due to the discomfort that comes from knowing your being spied on by people who have no business reading your blog.

I'll write more when I'm in a better frame of mind (as if that ever happens!).

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

when a good book of poetry comes in the mail at just the right time

"All systems are up"

You dial and a voice answers.
After you have stammered a reply
into dead air, you realize
it cannot hear or know you.
The preprogrammed voice of a thing
addresses you as a retarded dog:

Press 0 if you wish to be connected
to emergency services. Press 1
to order a product. Press 2
to speak to an agent. Press 3
if you need assistance.
Have a nice day.

I press 3. I need information.
Another robot says, Press 1
if you wish to order a product.
Press 2 to speak to an agent
- who bleeds? Press 3 if
you need further assistance.

I press 3. The voice says,
You have pressed 3.
That is not a valid number.
Please press 4 and make
another choice. I press 4.
The canned voice speaks:

Press 3 if you desire euthanasia.
Press 2 if you wish to detonate.
Press 1 never to have been born.
Press 0 for universal Armageddon.
Have a nice day.

-Marge Piercy
from What Are Big Girls Made Of? in New and Selected Poems 1980-2010

My blog.

When I started this blog I wrote under the name "A Beautiful Mind" because I thought somehow that I was connected to that movie, though I did not know really that I had a disease. I called the blog Suicidal Yet Sane. It was at http://suicidalyetsane.blogspot.com.

Today, I write under Jen Daisybee. Obviously, my last name is not "Daisybee". My real last name is not on this blog. Try to find it, and show me where it is. I have been wrong before, but I don't think I am brain damaged. My last name was never here, with the brief exception for my email address having been on one page of this 446 page blog which has my last name in it. That has now been removed.

So what I have been told is that whoever knows me can find my blog by my name. This is not true. I have tried it myself, and I could not find myself. Using, "Jen Daisybee" you can find me. And using, "suicidal no more" you can find this blog really fast. But you can't really find this blog with my first and last name.

Therefore, if you do find this blog with my first and last name, please let me know, because if that is the case, I am obviously incorrect.

This blog is the only place where I have friends who I can really relate to who really know the real me, and the only place where I can truly be myself any time. So, no, I'm not going to delete just because nosy people have found it. They probably found it because I made the mistake of emailing some people the link to an article written about my blog, which also, I will state for the record, never contained my last name. I'm saying this because I just got off the phone with somebody trying to tell me this blog has my last name on it, and "Anybody can find you on there", and that is not the case. Anybody who knows me who has been told I have a blog can find me on here. That doesn't really include the whole entire planet earth.

But the main reason, really, why I'm not deleting the blog is this. Yesterday, someone in a Facebook support group I'm in was posting the link to this blog to tell me "you should read this! I've been reading this blog for a year and I love it!" She didn't know I wrote it. So that is the thing. After all, it has been online seven years. I am not going to just delete it because some nosy people have found it and have used it against me, perhaps. I'm just going to have to not mention certain things anymore. That's too bad. I don't like to have to be censored on a place that DOES NOT HAVE MY LAST NAME ON IT.

But so be it.

So I will not talk about my landlord because, frankly, I have enough problems with them already. So there is no point in making it worse by letting them read me writing about them. What is really amusing to me is that when I went on the internet and wrote that I was going to kill myself years ago, no one cared. But when I have a blog called Suicidal No More, where I write about treatment and recovery, I am told that I should delete it. Whatevs, peeps.

My name is searchable one way. Through one post about something you can get to another person's blog where you can find my last name. I did just remember that. Oh well. So if you are really desperate to find my last name, have fun digging around. I don't really care right now. It's not like I am Jill Stein and I'm going to try to run for President of the United States. It's not like I could ever work in the mental health field where I live anyway, because the only job I could actually get would be as a peer specialist paying less than what I make at the dead-end job I already have had for four years answering phones. So let's be real. What difference does it really make if I have a blog? It actually gives me a reason to go on, having this blog, sometimes. I can't say that much for anything else in my life other than my cats. So should I delete the one place I have where I am comfortable, and where other people tell me they find hope from stuff I say? I don't think so.

Maybe in the future, but not today.

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Still Have Free Speech, Thank You Very Much

Well, this is absolutely fabulous. Here is a warning to anyone with a blog, which means, anyone who frequently reads my blog since most of you are bloggers (or at least those of you who are not anonymously reading this because you work for social service agencies I frequent). Just don't mention on your blog if you're having a psychotic episode (for months) and your suicidally depressed, and you're barely functioning and you're not taking a shower, just don't mention this one thing: your apartment being a mess.

Apparnetly, saying on your blog, "I am going to get evicted because my apartment is such a mess", really will get you not one, not two, but three eviction notices taped on your door by the nice, sympathetic, MENTAL HEALTH AGENCY that owns your apartment, if you are guilty of the above and you are a terrible slob.

That's right. That's what I came home to today. Apparently all my neighbors knew about it before I did, considering most of them have no job or go anywhere, so they were the ones who informed me there was something waiting for me on my door before I got to my door.

The funny thing about this is I ACTUALLY PAY RENT TO LIVE HERE UNLIKE MY NEIGHBORS. Yeah, I'm not against helping poor people, particularly since I happen to be a poor person. I'm not against helping homeless people, especially considering I once lived in the back of a car for weeks, and I've lived in homeless shelters in Florida, Virginia, and Maryland before. I'm not against my neighbors. But my neighbors, for the most part, don't have to pay rent. And I do. And I have been paying it to this MENTAL HEALTH AGENCY for seven years. Do they appreciate that fact? Apparently, they appreciate it so much they can't wait to kick me to the curb next week.

Yeah, so that is what happens when you dare to tell the world that you are living in a state of disrepair. You get evicted and become homeless. That is what happens. That is my warning to you, so you can avoid finding yourself in the circumstances I am now in. Did the MENTAL HEALTH AGENCY call me on the phone, and say, "Jennifer, how are you doing? We noticed you forgot to pay your rent this month." No.

Did they call and say, "Jennifer, we read on the internet that your apartment is a mess, so then we came over to investigate it and found out it was, and we're concerned for your welfare. Maybe you should be hospitalized. OR maybe you should move back to the group home." No.

No, what the MENTAL HEALTH AGENCY did was leave three separate, typed, inhumane letters on my door for me to find when I came home. On the EXACT same day that I CALLED the MENTAL HEALTH AGENCY to see if they would let me into their supportive living program where they send a coach to check on you once in a while. I hear from my friends online in the UK and Canada, that you can have a nurse visit you all the time and help you out at home when you're mentally ill. Not in the U.S. And especially not in Florida. Here, you have to somehow know about some program that exists and find out how to get involved in it and then get accepted into it, and then maybe someone will come say hello to you once a month, or something like that. But, hey, whatever it takes. So I called and asked for that help.

And do they care at the MENTAL HEALTH AGENCY, that I called today and asked for help?

I find it hard to see how they care considering that they taped three letters on my door telling me I'm out of here in one week if I don't ship up or shape out. I find it hard to see how they can consider such action helpful.

Does anyone see how that is helpful?

Mind you, this is what I have been doing for the past however many weeks: lying down with no TV and no music and staring at the walls.

THAT is what I have been doing. I have been vegetating. Because I AM SICK. And last time I checked, that's a sign somebody needs HELP and not an EVICTION NOTICE from a so-called MENTAL HEALTH AGENCY.

good appointment with my doctor

Well, I am pleased to report that I think my doctor and I are finally on the same page now. She has only known me for a few months, and I really did not think she understood me much. But today I told her exactly what was going on, like how I've been spending hours lying around staring at the walls and talking to myself, how my apartment was a disaster, how I no longer do laundry or dishes and don't care, etc., and she asked me if I was still working and going to school and doing anything else. I said how I had been going to work and school (even though it's hard), and that I had spoken at a NAMI meeting. "And how did that go?" she asked.

"It went okay..."

"You see," she said, "you present yourself so well people would never know."

Exactly.

"Yes," I said, "people have no idea what is really going on with me. Even when I'm psychotic nobody knows unless I tell them, which I almost never do."

"See, I understand that though," she said.

Yay! Somebody understands. Finally she gets me, I think. I need the doctor to really understand so she knows what to do with my brain, and I honestly didn't think she understood me too well before. But now I think she does.

I asked her about the confusing stuff she said at my last appointment when she told me I might have severe OCD. She said that she didn't mean that OCD was causing my delusions, but that there is a gray area between OCD and Schizophrenia, and sometimes a fixed delusion is very much like an obsession. I guess I can understand how that would be.

I do have OCD, and I do have fixed delusions, so we are talking the same language at least. I just don't really know what it all means.

I told her about how I think I have cycles, because I felt the same way this time last year that I do right now, and I said, "I think I need a mood stabilizer". She said she totally agreed with that. So now I am on Topomax. I've been on it before, but I don't remember its effects. That was several years ago. Obviously, the good thing about it is that it is supposed to suppress your appetite, but I don't think it did that for me when I took it before, which is why I stopped taking it then. I don't care now, I just want to stop feeling like a miserable basket case.

I also told her about how I missed my shot, and that was what she thought was the obvious reason for why I am feeling worse. I agreed to stay on a low dose of Navane because I no longer feel like it makes much difference whether I'm on that or not since it did not get better when I reduced the dosage to 2 mgs. So she thinks that after another day or two the injection I got last Friday will kick in and I will be feeling a bit better. I hope so.

So the next step is to clean my apartment. I don't know how I'm going to manage that.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The fall

So I figured something out with this handy, dandy little blog here. I looked at this week last year, and what I wrote. And I also remembered it all. I was exactly where I am now at this time last year, brainwise. All the same symptoms. The same time line too. It started around May and it got to psychosis by August, and then it got to the deep, dark, depths, of suicidal despair and nothingness and feeling trapped in concrete and "negative" symptoms like total apathy and avolition by, you guessed it, October.

If you are bored, just go to the lower right hand corner of the page, click on 2011 and then click in October, under the blog archives and you will see what I am talking about. And you know what else happened that I remember last fall? I missed my RISPERDAL INJECTIONS twice. This time I missed it for two weeks. Last year I missed it for one week two times. I got the EXACT same result. Thinking I was headed for the hospital. But the interesting thing is that before that, before the October despair, I had five months of getting way worse.

This year was actually worse than last year, because this year, I was psychotic in May, and I have been that way ever since. So this is not an improvement. Which leads me to believe that Latuda may not be effective for me, except that if you asked me last December or January if Latuda was effective, I would have told you, It's Wonderful, and I'm so much better now than I was in October.

Cycles. I think I need a mood stabilizer, and I think I need some Risperdal pills, and I am going to see my psychiatrist Monday morning and tell her this, and I am going to ask if I can have like some kind of extra booster shot of Risperdal because, after all, it is not my fault the medical asistant told me I didn't need the shot and made me miss it for two weeks. They can't read a chart, that is not my problem. I don't have the chart. If I had it, I can guarantee you this would not have ever gotten as bad as it has. Of course, I could be wrong.

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that I'll be doing better in a month or two if all goes well.

So that is good.

Thank you, blog.

Just get me through October.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

perseverence

Well, as you can see from my last post things are not going too well. However, today I went to the NAMI Pinellas annual picnic. I had the job of running the snow cone machine for three hours, and helping my friend Terry make cotton candy. We looked like Lucy and - is it Ethel? - in the I Love Lucy episode where they can't make the candy in the candy factory with the conveyer belt. Cotton candy machines go really fast! Neither one of us knew what we were doing at all. And it was kind of fun, at least for a few minutes. Terry's entire arm was covered in pink cotton candy, and my hands were blue and red from snow cone fluid. We managed to, I believe, totally destroy the table we were using because the liquid got all over it and stained it. It was an unfortunately white table. But a lot of people came and seemed to enjoy themselves. My friend Tracey was there with her partner, and their dogs. I talked to them for a few minutes, but when Tracey asked how things were going for me, I mostly just lied and acted like it wasn't too bad right now. She said something like, "I thought you might have someone here with you", as if I was going to have a date. I was like, "What?" because the idea that anyone could think I was in the mode to be dating someone is sort of hard to understand. I am like a walking corpse. I guess I just put on a good act for others.

Every year at the NAMI picnic they give out the Iris Awards, which are named after Vincent Van Gogh's painting of the Irises. I got one two years ago. This year my doctor got one, not the current doctor, but the one I had who I really liked who left. I had recommended him for the award, and so did another patient of his, who I know. He wasn't at the picnic, but I was glad he won the award. Other people who got the award were police officers who prevented suicides, and advocates in mental health.

Then I got home and had to face finishing my midterm. I just finally got it done. It's not really good. There is no way I will get an A, or probably even a B. But I think it will pass. And I guess that is all that really matters. I mean, it's not all that really matters, because in order to keep getting scholarships and stuff like that I need to get an A, but I can't get an A right now. My brain isn't working. It took me two days to do this midterm. And it's hardly done well enough to pass.

But I made myself do it.

And that is what counts.

Perseverence.

I still feel like it would be easy to curl up in a ball on the floor and die right now, but I am trying to just get through this. Somehow I will get through. I might end up in the hospital, but I am going to survive.

Someone (one brave duck) asked in the comments if I could get a nurse. The thing is in the U.S., at least where I live, there are no nurses at the community mental health center or visiting nurse programs for people with mental illnesses. However, there is a program, which my friend Tracey works for where a person who will be like a "coach" will come to visit you at home. So I emailed her and told her that I was wondering if there was any room in there program for another person, because I kind of need some help.

So, I'll see what happens with that. I really, really need to clean my apartment. I am just totally, utterly overwhelmed by it.

Friday, October 12, 2012

disaster

Well I tried to be hopeful and cheery, but it just didn't last.

Ugh.

I have this majorly difficult midterm exam of essay questions for a law class. It is a take home exam and I have to be done with it tomorrow. I haven't gotten halfway through it because I cannot. read. the. material. and. I. cannot. think.

I went to get my shot today, fully aware that I don't know when the last time I got it was. See, last week, I went in to get it and the medical assistant said, "No, you're too early, it's not until Friday of next week." I knew she was wrong on this, but I don't have the chart to prove I'm right, so I dumbly just left. I go in today, being that it is now the day she told me to return. The other medical assistant says, "You haven't gotten your shot since September 17th," as he looks at my chart. It is supposed to be every two weeks, and it has now been a month since I had it.

No freakin' wonder I'm going batshit crazy here! On top of EVERYTHING ELSE I have been without the one stalemate drug that actually really works for me much of the time! And I was so freakin' out of it lately, that it didn't even occur to me to make a fuss and make them give me the shot.

I can't even begin to describe to you the disastrous state of my life right now. My apartment is like something you would see in an episode of Hoarders. It is disgusting, beyond recognition. There are flies flying around. I can't even remeember the last time I washed dishes or laundry. I don't even know. I obviously don't really care. This is not feasible, to try to live like this.

I've begun to think that I should have shot myself when I almost did seven years ago. I'm not sure how this thought started creeping in recently, and I know it sounds bizarre considering my last post about "how I found hope", but it's true. The poem, "Richard Cory" comes to mind a lot. "Whenever Richard Cory went downtown/ we people on the pavement looked at him/ he was a gentleman from sole to crown/ clean favored and imperially slim/ and he was always quietly arrayed/ and he was always human when he talked/ but still he fluttered pulses when he said/ "good morning", and he  glittered when he walked/ and he was rich, yes richer than a king/ and admirably schooled in every grace/ in fine we thought that he was everything/ to make us wish that we were in his place/ so on we worked and waited for the light/ and went without the meat and cursed the bread/ and Richard Cory one calm summer night/ went home and put a bullet through his head.

I just wrote that from memory. I memorized it about 17 years ago. It has come back to my mind for a reason. Everything is a mess! I am going to fail this midterm. I can't drop the class. I can't pass the class without doing well on the midterm. I can't do anything other than what I already did do as far as accomodations; I got extra time on it with the "disabled" label. And that isn't going to make a bit of difference, since I can't read. So I could have an extra YEAR, and it wouldn't really matter.

Why did I ever think I could get through college? I don't recall now.

I think this blog is a very self-centered thing, and it occurs to me that I should stop writing on it. Someone jokingly said to me something about me being self-centered the other day. I took it seriously. I think it's true. Who writes blogs about their lives for seven years?

Someone has been emailing me claiming to be a reader of this blog, but I don't know who it really is. So I became convinced it was this "friend" I used to have, who I was obsessed with for like 15 years because my brain is a disaster. And so now, not only do I not know if the guy writing to me is that guy mascarading as someone else, but I also went and told the real "friend" that this is what I am thinking, so he now thinks I am totally insane. Not that I can argue otherwise.

And the best part about that is there is no real friend in the whole story. That's the truth. Because neither one of these real/fake/whatever people actually wants to be my friend. And it wouldn't matter if they did because I'll never meet these people.

I am so pathetic, it is really hard to explain to you how pathetic I actually am. I hardly ever bother mentioning this, because it is so hard to explain, but I go around all the time thinking people are other people, or people are CIA agents, and they're doing mind control on me. Do you know what it's like to live like that? I know that it is hell, because I know that there have been times when I was not like this and it was such a huge relief to be LEFT ALONE without the paranaoia. But then it comes back. I'm paranoid all over again, and I see things in license plates, like the word "ASH" meaning, "You're going to be ash in the concentration camp after they put you through the oven", and I freak out over it. I sit and do my job at work like everybody else, and you wouldn't know, you really wouldn't know, from looking at me, that I'm silently freaking out, but I am. I am freaking out all the time.

I think this whole past year has been one big nightmare. I'm trying to recall when it wasn't so bad. I know I somehow got A's in all my classes last year. So that part must have not been so bad, or I would have failed. But I don't remember it as not so bad. I remember it like one big, psychotic nightmare. At least, at times like right now, anyway. Right now I can't think of a lot of positive things to say. You may have noticed the slight difference between my post about hope last night, and this horrid thing I'm writing today. I guess it is just hitting me that I'm failing this midterm.

I don't think I can travel next summer like I wanted to. I was going to actually attempt to get a scholarship and go to Europe, but I don't think it is feasible. I have been psychotic more often than not for over a year straight. Mostly, I was really psychotic all last fall, and then I got really psychotic again last spring, and I stayed that way ever since. So that is most of the past year. In other words, what am I thinking, even dreaming that I can go to another country on a four week trip like this? I can't even do my laundry! I can't even function! I don't even know when I last washed my hair! I got a manicure today, because I had this stupid nail polish that you can't remove unless you go and get another manicure, so I am sitting there in all honestly thinking, I hope this woman rubbing lotion on my hands can't tell that I didn't take a shower in the past few days. That is so disgusting! What the heck is wrong with me?

I missed my appointment with the psychiatrist yesterday because I woke up, and thought about how much energy it would take to get myself there, and then said, "screw it, I'm not going". So I didn't go, so I didn't get to tell her that I am taking myself off Navane. So that is what it is. So my medication regimen is kind of messed up right now.

There is no food here. Literally, I mean there is one really gross frozen meal - an enchilada, it's disgusting - and that there is half a bag of frozen dinner rolls. That is all the food in my apartment. I just don't bother anymore. I just go to McDonald's for breakfast and get sandwiches from 7-11 or some place for lunch. I don't even know what the reason is for why it's too complicated to go grocery shopping, but it just is. It is just too complicated, and too overwhelming, and I cannot deal. I just cannot deal with anything.
Every time I hear a police siren, I think they're going to get me. And I think how they'll come to the door, take a look around, and say, "YOUR APARTMENT IS CONDEMNED", and they'll throw the handcuffs on me and cart me off to the hospital, and I'll lose my job, and I'll drop out of school, and when I get out I'll just want to commit suicide and I'll be homeless. Why do I think all this? Because this is what all has occured in the past. And I never, ever get to forget that because I'm still just as mentally disturbed now as I was then. The only difference is, I'm used to being this way now. It's not surprising or anything.

Sure there are good things I could think of if I really tried to be grateful and consider positive aspects of life, but at the moment, I would prefer to be dead. I feel like my whole life is just a pathetic joke. I haven't had a boyfriend or gone on a date in five years. I don't have any close friends who I actually like who I ever see. I don't really. I have a ton of acquaintances, and that is all they are. I don't know them and they don't know me. When I tell people I have a mental illness, they act like I'm a freak, and that's how I know, we'll never be close friends, because they're afraid of me. I have some friends who know, and I know that they don't understand. So I can't think of them as close friends, because when you have problems but you can't call someone on the phone to talk to them about it, then they're not your close friend.

I'm just so tired of everything.

"I myself am hell.
Nobody's here."
-Robert Lowell, "Skunk Hour"

Just so you are clear on this, if you are reading this, this is NOT a suicide note, and I am NOT going to kill myself, and I do NOT need anyone to call the police and send them after me, because that is probably the absolute worst thing that could be done to me right now.

How I found hope

Tonight, with a panel of five other people who live with mental illnesses, I spoke to the NAMI Pinellas education meeting attendees. We told bits of our stories, how we got sick, how we knew we were sick, when we got diagnosed, what led us to NAMI. We talked about homelessness, state hospitals, other psych hospitals, jail, abuse, hearing voices, cutting ourselves, attempting suicide, getting arrested, hallucinating, isolation, feeling lost. And we talked about hope. We have hope because we are in recovery. NAMI spreads hope.

When I was looking for hope, I would go to bookstores, and try to find answers to my problems. When the internet came about, I would go online and try to find them, try to find people who understood, try to find solutions, try to diagnose myself, try to find reasons to live. When the poems in the books, and the self help sections of entire bookstores, and the internet didn't have the answers, when nobody really seemed to be offering hope, I found hope within myself.

I think that is where it comes from. Nobody can give it to you. I want to give it to others, but the most I can do is tell you it's possible to find it, and that I found bits of it through lots of other people and lots of books and lots of websites and therapy and psychiatry visits and hospital stays. I found it through many ways, but most importantly, I found it. We all need it, but I don't think everyone knows it exists. I'm on Facebook support groups for Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder, and there are a lot of hopeless people in those groups. A lot of people who think they've tried all the meds, and nothing works, and they might as well be dead.

I used to be one of those people. I wasted a good 2/3 of my life wanting to die. I used to think about death, long for death, contemplate how I would meet death. I used to drive my car to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and think about jumping off the top like so many people do. I used to stare at pills longingly. I would hear the nearby train whistle in my dreams, and wish I could be lying on the track. I cut myself up with razors, and knives. I swallowed pills, and more pills to overdose. I tried to drive over the edge of the bridge. I bought a gun, bought bullets, went to a shooting range, learned how to shoot it, and held it, loaded, in my mouth.

But I didn't pull the trigger. Some part of me didn't want to die. And if you are ever in that dark, lonely cell of isolation feeling like there is no light, no end to the tunnel, no way out and thinking no one cares, I can tell you that I have been there, and there is a way out, and people do care. You have to find them. You have to find the people who can offer you hope. You have to find survivors in recovery who can tell you that it gets better. And you have to search deep within yourself to find a reason to go on living. Sometimes I would write them down. I would put a list of reasons on slips of paper in a box, and take it with me wherever I went.

Heck, when I started this blog I was totally suicidal. The blog was first titled Suicidal Yet Sane, because I didn't think I was mentally ill. I just didn't know. Many people just don't know. Many people do know and never talk about it. The silence that enshrouds mental illness, the deafening stigma that is all around us is so heavy and so strong and so big and so all-encompassing, it threatens our lives. Tens of  thousands of people die by suicide each year becaues of that silence. Because no one is talking about mental illness. No one is talking about it but those of us who have the illnesses ourselves and write blogs, or write books, or speak on panels, or tell our coworkers and our friends, "This is what I lived through". We have to talk about it, because that is the only way to defeat the silence. That is the only way things are ever going to change.

Florida ranks 49th or 50th in mental health services funding throughout the United States, and that is pathetic. A legislator this year wants to cut the budget that we do have, small that it is, in half. Not double it, but cut it in half. The reason people can even talk about doing things like that is because NOBODY IS TALKING ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS.

Well this is Mental Illness Awareness Week. You are now reading my blog about my mental illness. We are talking about it. We are making progress. Please, talk about it some more. Refer people to NAMI or Mind.org, or Bring Change 2 Mind. Refer people to the advocacy organization in your country. Post your blogs where you talk about mental illness. When I was looking for hope, I found people who talked about suicide, and not a lot of people who talked about getting past the urge to die. We exist! Let's talk about it.

I don't want to die anymore. On my worst days, I may think about death fleetingly, but I don't want to die. I've created a life I halfway like. And I don't want it to end right now. I'm not ready to go yet. That's a lot to say, coming from someone who used to agonize over which method of suicide would be most effective. We don't have to die by the tens of thousands every year. We don't have to die in vain. We can live. We can find hope, we can talk about our truths, and we can go on.

Don't give in to the urge to feel sorry for yourself and say, "fuck it all". Don't give in to the urge to isolate and make yourself more lonely than you already are. Don't give in to the urge to be ashamed because society told you that you were never supposed to talk about your close escapes. Talk about it. Join NAMI, or some other organization. Become a public speaker. Write a book. Write a blog. Create a website. Volunteer. Tell your story to your friends. Tell your family. If you find the right people to tell, they will listen to you and they will not look down on you because you are a survivor. You, my friend, made it to the other side. You did not die. You are reading this blog because you want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Pat yourself on the back and smile at that. We are all suicidal no more. Put that urge to give up and die back on the shelf beneath your ancient encyclopedias, and get out your journal, or your blog, and start writing. Write for hope. Write hope. Give yourself hope. Cultivate hope. We must. For there is no other option.

So that is what I want to do with my life, to somehow, in some way, give hope to others who have suffered or are suffering now. Because I know about the dark side, and I've been there, and even now I'm somewhat still in it, but I also know that there is survival and there is hope. A woman named Chris who was on the panel with me tonight, looked at me after I finished talking and she said, "You are a survivor." And I looked at her and said, "We are both survivors, because you are too."

Be a survivor, not a statistic.

It's Mental Illness Awareness Week. Let's create some awareness now.

I found hope in NAMI. NAMI gives me hope. The National Alliance on Mental Illness quite frankly saves lives. And I would not have the life I have today with the meaning that it has to me, without that organization. My family really didn't give me hope. My friends didn't either. But NAMI did. And I urge you to support NAMI, and to find your local NAMI if you live in the U.S. or the group that exists in your country, if you live outside the U.S. because we need to band together and create a ribbon of hope.

There is an AIDS quilt, and there are Breast Cancer Walks, and there are telethons for Muscular Dystrophy. What is being done on a national level or an international level to raise awareness about ALL MENTAL ILLNESSES?? Not enough. So it starts with us. We must find hope for ourselves and we must spread that hope to others, and create awareness, and educate, and support each other. Today.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It's World Mental Health Day and Mental Illness Awareness Week!

Hello folks,

Every year, for the past few years, I wrote a post in honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week. So today I am writing one again, because we need to raise awareness, educate our fellow humans, break the silence that enshrouds psychiatric illnesses, and remind ourselves that there is hope for recovery. Feel free to share this post, write your own post about MIAW, tweet about it, or whatnot. Spread some awareness.

Also check out Priya Menon's article on mental health bloggers where she mentions this blog: go here. Thank you, Priya!

Here are some mental illness facts from NAMI:


"Mental illness is a medical illness—it does not discriminate. One in four adults experiences a mental health problem in any given year. One in 17 adults lives with a serious mental illness.

In this election year, it’s worth remembering that mental illness affects Republicans, Democrats and independent voters alike. It’s not a partisan issue, but it does involve every issue from the economy and, budget priorities.

Since 2012, states have cut mental health services by $1.6 billon, at the same time that need has increased. Unemployed people have been four times more likely to report symptoms of severe mental illness than others. Americans who experienced involuntary changes in employment status, such as pay cuts or reduced hours, were twice as likely.

The need also is increasing as our troops return home from Iraq and Afghanistan, some with “hidden wounds.” They must not be forgotten in the years ahead.
Treatment works, but only if a person can get it. Early identification of symptoms and treatment results in better outcomes

During MIAW, let’s all talk with friends and neighbors about mental illness and recovery. It’s an opportunity to learn facts and end myths to help break the stigma—and silence— that too often surrounds the topic."

Here are some more facts:

"One in four adults—approximately 57.7 million Americans— experience a mental health disorder in a given year. One in 17 lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder1 and about one in 10 children live with a serious mental or emotional disorder.

• About 2.4 million Americans, or 1.1 percent of the adult population, lives with schizophrenia.

• Bipolar disorder affects 5.7 million American adults, approximately 2.6 percent of the adult population per year.

• Major depressive disorder affects 6.7 percent of adults, or about 14.8 million American adults.According to the 2004 World Health Report, this is the leading cause of disability in the United States
and Canada in ages between 15-44.

• Anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder and phobias, affect about 18.7 percent of adults,
an estimated 40 million individuals. Anxiety disorders frequently co-occur with depression or addiction disorders

  • An estimated 5.2 million adults have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders.

  • Of adults using homeless services, 31 percent reported having combination of these conditions.

• One-half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, three-quarters by age 24. Despite effective treatments, there are long delays—sometimes decades—between the first onset of
symptoms and when people seek and receive treatment.

• Fewer than one-third of adults and one-half of children with a diagnosable mental disorder receive mental health services in a given year.

  • Racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to have access to mental health services and often receive a poorer quality of care.

• In the United States, the annual economic, indirect cost of mental illness is estimated to be $79 billion. Most of that amount—approximately $63 billion—reflects the loss of productivity as a result of illnesses.

• Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions.

Adults living with serious mental illness die 25 years earlier than other Americans, largely due to treatable medical conditions.

• Suicide is the eleventh-leading cause of death in the Unites States, and the third-leading cause of death for people ages 10-24 years.

  • More than 90 percent of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder.

• In July 2007, a nationwide report indicated that male veterans are twice as likely to die by suicide as compared with their civilian peers in the general United States population.

• Twenty-four percent of state prisoners and 21 percent of local jail prisoners have a recent history of a mental health disorder.
  • Seventy percent of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental disorder with at least 20 percent experiencing significant functional impairment from a serious mental illness.

• Over 50 percent of students with a mental disorder age 14 and older drop out of high school—the highest dropout rate of any disability group."

Taken from "Mental Illness: FACTS AND NUMBERS"

NAMI • The National Alliance on Mental Illness • www.nami.org • 1 (800) 950-NAMI

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Episodes of Schizophrenia to be published (graphic novel based on my illness)

The awesome Jessica Leach and I co-authored a graphic novel. A lot of it is based on my life and particularly one episode of psychosis I had in 2003 or so, and for the past few months we hadn't heard anything from the publisher, Chipmunka, so I almost thought it wasn't going to happen. But today we are finalizing the plans on getting it published and it will be available in e-book format!

So as soon as a link exists where you can go to download it; I will put that here.

My name on a book; that's kind of cool.

It almost makes up for the fact that I'm going to fail my law class midterm in two days because I can't read the books.

Monday, October 08, 2012

It was a long trip with little days in it and no new places

I'm not going to a hospital or anything. But I have thought these lines in my head a million times over the years. It's really rather pathetic.

"Flee On Your Donkey"


Because there was no other place

to flee to,

I came back to the scene of the disordered senses,

came back last night at midnight,

arriving in the thick June night

without luggage or defenses,

giving up my car keys and my cash,

keeping only a pack of Salem cigarettes

the way a child holds on to a toy.

I signed myself in where a stranger

puts the inked-in X's—

for this is a mental hospital,

not a child's game.



Today an intern knocks my knees,

testing for reflexes.

Once I would have winked and begged for dope.

Today I am terribly patient.

Today crows play black-jack

on the stethoscope.



Everyone has left me

except my muse,

that good nurse.

She stays in my hand,

a mild white mouse.



The curtains, lazy and delicate,

billow and flutter and drop

like the Victorian skirts

of my two maiden aunts

who kept an antique shop.



Hornets have been sent.

They cluster like floral arrangements on the screen.

Hornets, dragging their thin stingers,

hover outside, all knowing,

hissing: the hornet knows.

I heard it as a child

but what was it that he meant?

The hornet knows!

What happened to Jack and Doc and Reggy?

Who remembers what lurks in the heart of man?

What did The Green Hornet mean, he knows?

Or have I got it wrong?

Is it The Shadow who had seen

me from my bedside radio?



Now it's Dinn, Dinn, Dinn!

while the ladies in the next room argue

and pick their teeth.

Upstairs a girl curls like a snail;

in another room someone tries to eat a shoe;

meanwhile an adolescent pads up and down

the hall in his white tennis socks.

A new doctor makes rounds

advertising tranquilizers, insulin, or shock

to the uninitiated.



Six years of such small preoccupations!

Six years of shuttling in and out of this place!

O my hunger! My hunger!

I could have gone around the world twice

or had new children - all boys.

It was a long trip with little days in it

and no new places.



In here,

it's the same old crowd,

the same ruined scene.

The alcoholic arrives with his gold clubs.

The suicide arrives with extra pills sewn

into the lining of her dress.

The permanent guests have done nothing new.

Their faces are still small

like babies with jaundice.



Meanwhile,

they carried out my mother,

wrapped like somebody's doll, in sheets,

bandaged her jaw and stuffed up her holes.

My father, too. He went out on the rotten blood

he used up on other women in the Middle West.

He went out, a cured old alcoholic

on crooked feet and useless hands.

He went out calling for his father

who died all by himself long ago -

that fat banker who got locked up,

his genes suspended like dollars,

wrapped up in his secret,

tied up securely in a straitjacket.



But you, my doctor, my enthusiast,

were better than Christ;

you promised me another world

to tell me who

I was.



I spent most of my time,

a stranger,

damned and in trance—that little hut,

that naked blue-veined place,

my eyes shut on the confusing office,

eyes circling into my childhood,

eyes newly cut.

Years of hints

strung out—a serialized case history—

thirty-three years of the same dull incest

that sustained us both.

You, my bachelor analyst,

who sat on Marlborough Street,

sharing your office with your mother

and giving up cigarettes each New Year,

were the new God,

the manager of the Gideon Bible.



I was your third-grader

with a blue star on my forehead.

In trance I could be any age,

voice, gesture—all turned backward

like a drugstore clock.

Awake, I memorized dreams.

Dreams came into the ring

like third string fighters,

each one a bad bet

who might win

because there was no other.



I stared at them,

concentrating on the abyss

the way one looks down into a rock quarry,

uncountable miles down,

my hands swinging down like hooks

to pull dreams up out of their cage.

O my hunger! My hunger!



Once, outside your office,

I collapsed in the old-fashioned swoon

between the illegally parked cars.

I threw myself down,

pretending dead for eight hours.

I thought I had died

into a snowstorm.

Above my head

chains cracked along like teeth

digging their way through the snowy street.

I lay there

like an overcoat

that someone had thrown away.

You carried me back in,

awkwardly, tenderly,

with help of the red-haired secretary

who was built like a lifeguard.

My shoes,

I remember,

were lost in the snowbank

as if I planned never to walk again.



That was the winter

that my mother died,

half mad on morphine,

blown up, at last,

like a pregnant pig.

I was her dreamy evil eye.

In fact,

I carried a knife in my pocketbook—

my husband's good L. L. Bean hunting knife.

I wasn't sure if I should slash a tire

or scrape the guts out of some dream.



You taught me

to believe in dreams;

thus I was the dredger.

I held them like an old woman with arthritic fingers,

carefully straining the water out—

sweet dark playthings,

and above all, mysterious

until they grew mournful and weak.

O my hunger! My hunger!

I was the one

who opened the warm eyelid

like a surgeon

and brought forth young girls

to grunt like fish.



I told you,

I said—

but I was lying—

that the knife was for my mother . . .

and then I delivered her.



The curtains flutter out

and slump against the bars.

They are my two thin ladies

named Blanche and Rose.

The grounds outside

are pruned like an estate at Newport.

Far off, in the field,

something yellow grows.



Was it last month or last year

that the ambulance ran like a hearse

with its siren blowing on suicide—

Dinn, dinn, dinn!—

a noon whistle that kept insisting on life

all the way through the traffic lights?



I have come back

but disorder is not what it was.

I have lost the trick of it!

The innocence of it!

That fellow-patient in his stovepipe hat

with his fiery joke, his manic smile—

even he seems blurred, small and pale.

I have come back,

recommitted,

fastened to the wall like a bathroom plunger,

held like a prisoner

who was so poor

he fell in love with jail.



I stand at this old window

complaining of the soup,

examining the grounds,

allowing myself the wasted life.

Soon I will raise my face for a white flag,

and when God enters the fort,

I won't spit or gag on his finger.

I will eat it like a white flower.

Is this the old trick, the wasting away,

the skull that waits for its dose

of electric power?



This is madness

but a kind of hunger.

What good are my questions

in this hierarchy of death

where the earth and the stones go

Dinn! Dinn! Dinn!

It is hardly a feast.

It is my stomach that makes me suffer.



Turn, my hungers!

For once make a deliberate decision.

There are brains that rot here

like black bananas.

Hearts have grown as flat as dinner plates.



Anne, Anne,

flee on your donkey,

flee this sad hotel,

ride out on some hairy beast,

gallop backward pressing

your buttocks to his withers,

sit to his clumsy gait somehow.

Ride out

any old way you please!

In this place everyone talks to his own mouth.

That's what it means to be crazy.

Those I loved best died of it—

the fool's disease.





Anne Sexton

Thank you

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who left comments on my liast post. I am pretty sure that Navane is making me feel way worse than I should, and I don't plan on staying on it. I hope to feel better once I get off that medication, but there is a good chance that I won't because the negative symptoms are at the root of the problem. I really don't know which is true right now.

I appreciate all your suggestions, and I will try them as I can. Right now, I'm just not up to making a schedule or anything. I feel like I'm back in the Bell Jar that I lived in years ago where I barely functioned. This is totally unacceptable to me, but this is where I am. I didn't accomplish anything today. But tomorrow, I will go to work, and accomplish that much.

I'm pretty sure I might be looking for a new psychiatrist soon, because I am not sure that the one I have is sure how to help me. My mom constantly tells me to go see someone else, because the mental health center has switched my doctors like five times in six years. It's kind of ridiculous. There is a doctor I really liked when I was in the hospital years ago, and I'm thinking of going to see him. However, I will still see my doctor I have now for the time being, and perhaps if I discuss things with her she will be willing to work with me and try something different. She is very nice, and it would be kind of awkward to have to tell her I'm leaving. I don't really want to be in that situation.

Anyway, the thoughts of death have come back from the doldrums in my brain's recesses. I had gotten past all that a long time ago, and I'm not entirely sure why it has returned. But it's not too severe. I'm not going to harm myself. I just don't like the fact that it is popping into my head as a possible idea. I should be past that, but then I'm not so this is life.

Thank you for reading and commenting; I really appreciate it very much. Your support means a lot to me.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

when you start to smell it's time to shower

I took a shower and washed my hair. One foot forward. One small step.

I could really use some advice, if you have any, on how to get back to actually living.

my disastrous life

I have been having this thing happen where I feel totally emotionless and flat like a piece of wood. I can never figure out if it's the Navane doing it (probably), or if it's the "negative" side of psychosis, the symptoms where you become apathetic and motionless. Today it got worse, and I am just downright miserable, and doing absolutely nothing, accomplishing nothing, the same way that I spent the entire weekend two weeks ago - doing nothing. When I get like this I will think, "I'm just really tired", or I will think, "I'm overwhelmed", but there is no logical rhyme or reason, no logical explanation for what occurs. Which is nothing. Nothing occurs. I am just a big ball of nothingness.

And that is all.

This is what I accomplished today: Around 5 PM I decided to go out and get some food. I didn't go to the food store, because I didn't want to do anything that complicated. So I just went to a sandwich shop and got a sub. And then I finally called back my mom who had been calling me non stop all day to borrow money from me, so I could tell her, "Yes, I'll lend you some money". As usual. This always happens. My entire life is very repetitive. My mom always ends up broke, and even though her income is three or four times the size of my income, she always asks me for money. And I always end up giving it to her.

But this time I was angry. "You're angry," she said. "You probably shouldn't give it to me then." We're at the freakin' ATM at the freakin' bank, where I freakin' drove to give her money and she is going to pretend like she doesn't want it. Of course she takes it anyway. I end up yelling at her to get away from me so I can leave. I am really pissed off. I don't even know why I'm pissed off. I just know I am. I resent her, deeply. She has me to rely on; she has her mother to rely  on; she has my sister and my brother to rely on. I have NOBODY to ever rely on for anything like financial help. Nobody. So if I'm broke, who do you think I call? MYSELF. I have no help to call. But my mom, well, she just picks up the phone and someone bails her out. Every goddamn time. She spends a lot of time shopping. Are you surprised? She lives in a house where she doesn't have to pay the mortgage; her parents paid it for her. My parents didn't even care if I ever went to college. Seriously. They didn't care. I'm not feeling sorry for myself for this; it's just the fact of the matter. I am more of a mother to my mother than she has ever been to me. I always have been. Ask anybody who really knows us, and they'll tell you that.

What else did I do today? Oh, I watched a Lifetime movie. That is really a sign that things have gone downhill because I totally hate Lifetime movies. When I lived in the group home for women where I lived six years ago, all they ever had on the TV was Lifetime or the religion channel. I hated them both with a passion. There was always some woman getting stabbed to death by her fiance on the TV. Every single day for ten months. That's how long I lived in that hellhole. Ten months. It drove me mad. But then being mad was how I got there so, whatever.


So I watched this Lifetime movie about this girl who got kidnapped when she wan infant and raised by the woman who kidnapped her. When I was a kid, I used to fantasize that my real mother was Princess Diana, and she had just left me to my parents to take care of for a while, but she was coming back to get me. I recall telling people this. I even had a fake English accent for a while. I guess I was ten or eleven. I don't know.

I'm so tired of my pathetic life. I'm surrounded by leaches. Pretty much everybody in my family has asked me for money at one time or another. My neighbor downstairs is always asking me for a couple bucks. My friend who I go to the movies with is annoying in her constant bitching about how poor she is (but she has no job and hasn't had one in about 15 years).  I'm sick of people.

I'm sick of myself.

I'm sick of feeling like a failure. I'm sick of wishing I had a romantic relationship or something. I'm sick of wishing I could have had a child. I'm sick of wishing I had a Master's Degree already. I'm sick of wishing I could ever get a Master's Degree. I'm sick of lying aorund staring at the wall.

Sometimes, I just lie on the couch with my back to the TV. I tell myself I'm listening to the TV, but really I'm just vegetating. Just being a vegetable. Just breathing. I can't make myself watch the TV at those times. It is too much of an effort.

My apartment is a disaster again. I have no food. The cat litter box needs to be changed badly. I don't care. I couldn't make myself  go to the store today. Nothing matters. My medication is OBVIOUSLY NOT WORKING. And it doesn't matter. Because it's never going to work. I am always going to be a failure.

I started emailing this guy who I used to be obsessed with. I told myself I was just going to say hello, but really I was reverting to an ancient pattern I had of trying to get him to talk to me when he never will. It is beyond pathetic. I don't even know how to describe it. I guess I am lonely but not really because if I was really lonely I would probably want to talk to someone and mostly I just want to be left the hell alone.

Horrible things have been coming to my mind, and I don't know why. Thoughts  of blood and gore and cutting myself and fears that I could hurt someone else.  I feel quite sure Navane is not a good medication for me. I decreased my dosage on my own, but I should probably just stop taking it. Nothing good is coming from it.  I don't have the urge to hurt anybody, or even to hurt my own self, but I have this paranoia that I'm going to do something to someone. It comes out of my obsessive paranoid brain.

I'm sick of my life. Every time I hear police sirens, ever single time, which is every single day, I think they are coming to get me. Every time I don't answer the phone when my mom calls, I trhink she is going to call the cops. I think that they are going to kicki me out of my apartment because it is such as mess. I think I am getting evicted. I thjink I am going to be locked up in the hospital again.

I'm going to fail my midterm for my law class. It's inevitable because I can't read the books. I can't fake it enough to get through a midterm. I'm going to fail it. And then I'm going to want to die. I thought I was going to fail my Spanish midterm the other day, but it turned out to be really easy. So i should have been happy, but I wasn't happy. I can't feel happy anymore. I can't feel anything good. I made myself meet my friend at the movies last night, but she was just annoying and I didn't want to be around her, so I went straight home after the movie. I didn't care.I bought a tiara and a magic wand for my neighbor's daughter who visits him sometimes because she thinks she and I are both princesses. But I am emotionless. I am not totally emotionless, though, because I'm disgusted and angry. I have gone to work several times in the past two weeks wearing no make up. Something I never do. I have been only taking a shower like twice a week. I don't care. Nothing matters.  There is no food in my apartment but frozen Lean Cuisines. I don't even want to eat that. I don't care. Nothing matters. Something is really wrong with me. But this is how I always get. It always comes down to this, this horrid state of disrepair.

I don't understand why I am such a screwed up person. Surely it is my personality that is the problem, and not just an illness. Surely I am to blame for this.  Why would the medications never work? I went to get my shot yesterday and they screwed up and told me it was a week too soon to give it to me, but I know that girl was wrong because I didn't get it last week. So now that is probably compounding the problem.

Everything is just a pointless wreck.

Honestly I have only been taking a shower like once every five or six days. My hair is greasy and gross, and I have body odor. This is not normal to live like this.

It would really help if I knew if it was the medication or the illness that was causing this.






Saturday, October 06, 2012

To my ignorant relatives

I have to get something off my chest. I am sick of my extended family treating me like I am an embarrassing outcast. I am sick of people who do not know me but whom I have the misfortune of being related to by blood, thinking they are superior to me, when THEY DO NOT KNOW ME. They don't try to get to know me. They don't talk to me. They never have. They don't live near me, and if they did, it wouldn't matter, because I used to live in Baltimore where they all live, and these people didn't bother to talk to me then either. I am sick to death of these people influencing how I feel about myself.

Further, I am sick of my father being ashamed I exist. What the hell did I ever do to deserve that? I know exactly what I did wrong. I had a delusion that he had molested me. I was afraid he was going to kill me. I called the police on him, and I reported him. He got investigated. TEN YEARS AGO. Yeah; that was ten years ago, and I am still not forgiven for it. What do I have to do? I already tried to shoot myself in the head, was that not enough to prove I hated myself? Jesus Christ. Oh, yeah, and I wasn't hallucinating the part where he held his fist up to my face.

My father came, to the police car, when I was in handcuffs and the police had accosted me with a gun that was loaded because I was going to blow my head off with it, and he cried. Because he was drunk, since he's an alcoholic and always has been one. I said, "Would you please visit me in the hospital, Dad?" And he actually did. Twice. I was in there for five months. That was in 2005. I thought, oh, he's forgiving me! I thought, oh, he'll talk to me now! But do I ever hear from my dad? No. Does he ever call me? No. Does he ever want to see me? No. He took eight people on a cruise to the Bahamas a few months ago. Do you think I got invited? Of course not. Neither did my brother and sister who he's ashamed of because they're not perfect enough for him either.

My family is full of self righteous Republicans who hate me becaues I am not like them. I dare to be myself, and I am different from them. I have also had a hellish life that they didn't hasve, and they don't know the first damn thing about that. Because they don't care. Why do I ever have to care what any of these people think of me? I shouldn't. These are people who get married (my cousins) and don't invite me to their weddings. Then they want to start political arguments with me on Facebook because they don't like my posts?? Screw them. Screw that.

I flat out told my cousin's wife on Facebook tonight, "I have a part time job that pays $9.81 an hour because I have Schizophrenia, so no I can't afford to fund PBS and yes I do think the government can." I never say stuff about my illness on Facebook. My relatives don't know about it, and when I have tried to tell them, they showed absolutely no interest or care about it at all. So I just flat out told her. And I don't care what this cousin's wife who doesn't know me thinks about me, but what kills me, what kills me is that I have all these relatives who have their little Republican conservative club and they think they are so much better, so superior to me, an they make me SICK.

Yeah, I live off the government. I also work. I also do volunteer work for two organizations on a regular  - sometimes dailyh -basis. I also try to help out my fellow humans when possible. But no, I wasn't in the militaryh. I am not married. I do not have children. I do not hasvre a bachelor's degree yet. I am a failure by all those standards. But they're not MY GODDAMN STANDARDS. They're YOURS. You people who want to judge me and think you are so much more accomplished than I am. Here, you want to try this brain on for size? TAKE THIS FUCKING BRAIN! See how you live, how succesful you are, how skinny you are, how energetic you are, how accomplished you are, and how many people want to marry you and have babies with you after you have THIS fucking brain. Try it. I dare you.

Yeah, nobody would take me up on that offer would they? What a surprise. They wouldn't last two minutes in their naive little cacoons of ignorance if they had to deal with psychosis. They don't know what psychosis EVEN IS!!! Hello? Has my dad ever told anybody in my family that I even have Schizoaffective Disorder/ Schizophrenia. No, probably not. So I get judged for being a big, fat, ugly, unmarried, childless failure with no full time job and no bachelor's degree. And nobody knows why. Screw it, I'll tell you why. Try this brain on for size and then you judge me, you heartless bastards. I am sick of allowing your judgement of me to make me hate my own self. I don't deserve to have to hate myself. So screw you.

Yes, this is an angry post. No, I am not normally like this.

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