Swimming in a Fish Bowl

My life on display

It Gets Better

I’ve been feeling so good over the last three to four weeks, it’s hard to imagine feeling as bad as I did from September through early March. It took determination and support from my network of good people, but it got much, much better. As morbid as it sounds,  it was simply the fact that I didn’t have enough information that I am still here; I was that suicidal at times in 2013. There are no set of words to properly describe how I feel about making it through that rough patch. It was worth it; plain and simple.

My life has become good and it is my own. I’m keeping very busy with my phone sex and webcam work. I enjoy it to pieces. I have creative freedom, get to meet all kinds of interesting men (callers) and women (other phone sex and webcam girls), and I get to expel all my sexual energy. My hard work over the last month(ish) since I’ve been feeling better is paying off too! My wallet feels a little more full than it has in a long time. I’ve started doing volunteer work with a dog rescue, and I’m walking a friend’s dog three days a week for a little extra money. I’ve written here before about my extraordinary love of dogs, so these two things are very satisfying. I’ve been working on my book and started a new exciting blog, in addition to this one. My social life is back where it should be- active and filled with good people. I lost two friends in the months I was sick; one “for good”, though I don’t like to say “never”. The other, I’m considering getting back in touch with, though I’m sure it will be tough as I completely ignored her and vanished from her life.

It’s true that there are bad things going on right now for me financially, but I can tell I’ll be able to pull myself out of the hole I’m currently in.

This is a post that I hope to return to, should my mental health falter. I want to tell my possible future sick self this; it gets better. Keep on moving ahead. It is worth the fight.

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Thank You and an Update

Before I get into the update, I wanted to thank the person or people who linked to my last post. My settings on WordPress allow me to see that many, many visits came directly to that post from Facebook. I imagine the reason was positive. I don’t get a lot of attention on my blog ordinarily, so seeing my stats climb for a few days, plus the comments and the email in response to my post made me feel good. Thank you.

When I last wrote, I was in a terrible place. My mood was mixed and I was rapidly cycling through the emotions I described in the post. I wrote it after some time of taking 10 mg of my medication, every other day. I am prescribed 15 mg, daily, so this was quite a drop in dose. The reason I did this has to do with becoming uninsured, not being able to afford the medication and being on a wait list to see a psychiatrist who, at my appointment, ended up being able to provide me with samples of my full dose to get me into January of this year.

I have since signed up for my own insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately, I did not understand the plans well enough and still cannot afford my medication. There is no generic for it, currently. There won’t be until after April 2015. My medication costs nearly $900/month. I have a $1,000 deductible for prescriptions, so I would pay for the first month’s supply, in full. After exhausting the deductible, my insurance pays 70%, and I pay 30% co-insurance. That’s nearly $300 a month, which I still cannot afford.

I could have done a little planning ahead, had the prescription department been on top of their game and able to respond to my queries about the cost of my medication. Unfortunately, it took three weeks to find out how much my medication would cost, and in that time, I watched my supply dwindle to nearly nothing. When I found out the cost, I had a week’s supply left. I rationed it out over a week and a half, and now I am feeling the effects. I suffered a few days of depression and am now feeling hypomanic.

Fortunately, because of the insurance I chose, I have a little team of medical providers working on helping me either get assistance for the cost of my medicine from the pharmaceutical company or to find another more affordable medication that I can switch to. The doctor and social worker/health coach were able to get a one month’s supply of my medication to me. We are using the month ahead to come up with the next plan.

Knowing that things will be ok soon is comforting. Knowing that my medication will likely kick back in and make me even again is equally comforting. Living with this feeling is the pits. I have watched my life change over the last five months, as though it has breath, arms, a mouth and mind. My life changed with little regard for me, my wants and my needs. Somewhere inside this body, somewhere inside my warped brain, there exists a version of myself that I am happy with. For now, I don’t know where it is. I don’t know who I am.

I have long believed that my bipolar disorder is not simply an illness I must pound at in order to survive. That it isn’t something to look to for an explanation for the things I do. That I am responsible for the things I do, bipolar disorder related behavior, or not. That I must work with it, not fight with it, because it will always be there, and the worst of it may come back again- with or without medication.

I have been questioned and even argued with over this way of thinking by one of my favorite past doctors and once by a classroom full of social workers when explaining my beliefs to them during a NAMI In Our Own Voice presentation. Both my doctor and the social workers explained that my bipolar disorder is not me. I am not my illness. I can still argue back. How can my illness not be me when it is an all-consuming part of what I feel, think and do? I still feel this way, however, today I feel a bit of understanding for the other side of things. That perhaps it isn’t my responsibility what this illness does to me and to those around me. I didn’t ask to be born this way. I didn’t do anything to deserve what it does to me- causing me to lose friends, overspend, over speak, not sleep then sleep too much, overeat then under eat, yell, cry and laugh, nearly all in the same breath and tear my home apart on a grand idea that I will never be able to turn into anything worthwhile. And when I am well, I become suspicious of everything I feel, think and do. I can’t trust myself. I hate it. Maybe they were right and I am not responsible for the worst of it. Or maybe, today, I’m just mad and want to fight.

Welcome Back Bipolarity

I made it many years without a full blown episode. I am stuck with my bipolar disorder for the rest of my life. I know this. I have always had it on my mind that one day I would be struck down by an episode again.

Welcome back bipolarity. You have made yourself a cozy spot within my brain. You’ve sprawled out and covered nearly every inch within my skull, haven’t you? It is true that I’ve taught myself to love you (however difficult a thing that is to do) for the good you give me. I understand deep emotion because I’ve lived it. I know what it is to bounce on euphoric bliss over and above the heads of those around me. In this state, colors are more vibrant, inanimate objects come alive and the air caresses my skin like warm, kind water until it starts to tickle the fine hairs on my body, irritating me; taking me to the next version of myself.

On from the happiest of happy to the surest of sure. I no longer float on joy and instead, I’m stopped short by a near-violent energy that moves within me. So powerful is this feeling; so heavy and thick. It pumps through my veins and comes out through my mouth. I hear the words that leave my tongue; biting, harsh, passive aggressive or even aggressive. I’m angry and I’m mean. Until, just as quickly the words come back to me through my ears and up to where you, bipolarity lazily sit, ruling over everything in my head.

The final emotion begins to take over now. The one that lasts the longest. The one that slows me down, threatening to make my end. My eyes may remain shut, for it shouldn’t matter that I see all the dimness around me. I’m stuck there, more rooted than before. For now, when the pain comes, I cannot see outside myself. Thoughts of other people may tap me with chilling guilt; for the things I said, or did, or even thought. I am sure of my burden to those around me. And perhaps, worst of all are the burdens the last emotion puts on me. I carry the feeling as a weight on my back so heavy I can hardly remain on my hands and knees. It threatens to sink me lower still. The weight is made up of suffering I know nothing about from my very privileged position. I think of all the energy my life has used. The people, the love, the time, the money; all of it. And at it’s worst, this emotion begs me to be done with it, for wouldn’t it be better? For who, I don’t know. Nor why or how, so instead of seeking the end to it, I sleep.

I think I more or less forgot what it was like to be bipolar. I forgot about all that I described above, and I forgot what feeling these various ways does to me. I cannot trust myself. I can’t trust what I think, what I feel, what I say and do. I had no control over yesterday. Tomorrow will be the same. This very moment is a lost cause.

So now I’m back on my way to getting treated. I need more of my medicine, or something new. For now, I’m back to getting by and hoping I don’t do too much irreparable damage, in my current, ever-changing state. For now, as I’m carried through time by the beast in my head, I’m looking forward to a time when I can beat this wicked thing down to something I can control again.

Defining What I Want from Love

The last eight months since breaking up with Mister and Miss have been interesting; difficult at times and pleasant, even joyful at others. I made a commitment to myself shortly after the breakup that I would not get involved with anyone romantically for a period of time. I didn’t exactly stick to this commitment, which is no surprise to me. Fiona Apple’s lyrics describe this ever-changing quality trait I own best in her song Extraordinary Machine, “I’m good at being uncomfortable, so I can’t stop changing all the time.” I share this partly because I can’t find better words to explain away my broken promise to myself, and because I enjoy prescribing songs as a source of information and/or comfort to myself.

Most people I know have goals for themselves. I can’t think of many that I set for myself and then went after. I always hoped I would write. I sort of hoped my life would feel like some sort of adventure; as defined by me. I had fantasies that for many would seem completely out of the ordinary; but making these fantasies come true was never really a goal, it more or less turned into reality one day.

The only goal I ever had for myself, however big or small it may have been or may seem to others, and one that I can attribute completely from an emotional desire, is to have romantic love in my life. Maybe that isn’t something one can call a goal. Maybe instead, it’s a given desire, I don’t know. It’s something that I always wanted and something that I went after.

I found love many, many times in my life. My first love was for a gentle, creative sort of boy. He hurt me quickly; not because he was careless or abusive. He was sick and eventually he died. My second love was exciting. He hurt me by default. He was cruel, thoughtless and selfish. My third love was stable and good. He was hurt by me, likely as a reaction to all the pain before he came along. My fourth love and I were a bad match, but I am thankful to still count him as a friend. My fifth and final love and I are impossible to define in a few sentences. When it comes to him, nothing is clear, nothing is certain. He feels like home to me and I’m happy that he is still in my life.

I found a post in my drafts here, titled “defining what I want from love” this evening and thought, why not? I thought instead of focusing on the pain I’m still feeling from my most recent breakup, or the confusion I feel from my current relationship, I would revisit this idea that I need to define what I want next.

Here are the expectations for a future lover and relationship that I wrote out, many months ago:

  • Mutual respect
  • Honesty
  • A D/s dynamic
  • Patience
  • Good communication
  • A sense that both of our needs and wants are being met
  • Acceptance from my lover of who I am

Tonight, I’ll add:

  • A desire to give and receive treatment as royalty, as much as this is possible
  • A sense of humor

It’s a strange sort of list, but it makes me happy. Will I actually do anything with this list? Likely, no. I wouldn’t exactly call myself a “free spirit”, but I tend to go with what comes to me. I tend to accept that life flows as it does, and though I should make things happen for myself, it is also okay to let myself get caught in the flow and see where it takes me.

I may choose to revisit other drafts I created on this blog in the near future, as I have not been feeling inspired to write based on my thoughts alone.

Precious Illusions

Making it simple

I had a conversation with a good friend over the course of a phone call and a meal. She was upset- more than upset, she seemed to be drowning in frustration and maybe even sadness. There was nothing I could say to help her, though I wanted to find the words.

It got me to think about myself and my list of issues:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorder
  • Perfectionism
  • Bad past relationships
  • An arguably sometimes abusive childhood
  • Confused sense of self and possible co-dependent tendencies

Not to mention the bad things I’ve done because of all of these issues. I recently screwed up, very badly, in a number of ways with a number of people.

I was reading a book on co-dependency thinking, “ugh, another label” and somehow that thought swung me back to thoughts of my friend who seems to be over her head in grief and it occurred to me what I could have said to my friend. I wish I had said, “make it simple. Let some of this go.”

So to myself, I say, “make it simple… let things go…” In that spirit, I can take good from the bad things in my life and learn from them. A quote I like from another book I’m reading, “Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” (The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown).

I am thankful for all of it, the good and the bad.

  • I am grateful for my experience with Mister and Miss.
  • I am grateful for my sometimes scary childhood and the times I felt alone in it.
  • I am grateful for my eating disorder.
  • I am grateful to myself, for the bad things I have done recently for they have woken me up to changes I need to make in order to get what I want for myself; to be happy and to be good.
  • I am grateful for my parents, sisters and friends
  • I am grateful for Mikey, whether he will continue to be my lover or will one day become strictly a friend.

I will keep the deep, dark parts of my life in mind because they are as much a part of life as the lightness but I will focus day to day on the simple things.

Today I woke up and remembered that without a $3k+ repair, my car is destroyed and that I would spend the day without my family. I worked my phone lines, I did some dishes and laundry, I created a beautiful recipe binder, ate some good food, hung out with my cat and being happy in that is all I need right now.

On Power and Being a Victim

I don’t think about “Mister” and “Miss” much, at this point. Sometimes I bring them up to friends, a few times I have had nightmares, which is shocking to me and fewer still, thoughts of them drift into my mind like wandering bubbles I quickly pop, forgetting them just as quickly as they come to be. I have been thinking and talking about them more lately because I officially re-entered the kink scene (in my mind, by filling out my profile on Fetlife). I’m nervous about running into them, which is likely inevitable. So I think and I talk.

Two friends seem to think there was some abuse going on. By him, certainly not her. I had a bit of a melt down the other day at the thought. I was in a bad relationship when I was 18. I don’t question that. When I got involved in a D/s relationship in October 2012, the lines of what is abuse and what is BDSM became blurred. People have been telling me how bad he was to me; how he is a bad person. A friend even pointed me to a domestic violence clinic for trauma therapy. When I thought about how what we did may be considered abusive, I felt confused and upset. And just as quickly, I burst that bubble too.

I am not a victim. He had control, but he has no power. What happened has no power over my strength and resiliency.

Still, I want to be clear to myself about the bad. If only to remind myself what to look out for in the future. Many of the thoughts here are taken from a combination of reading things on the site  www.kinkabuse.com.

Red flags:

    •  He (we, certainly) moved too fast
    •  He abused alcohol
    •  He put other people down, “he or she isn’t that hot”, “seems crazy”, etc.
    •  He has a lot of partners
    •  Take your money or take advantage of you in other ways, he sent me on errands with offers to pay me back for the financial burden few and far between
    •  He said he wanted to hear about my opinions and feelings, but he talked over me and told me what he thought my opinions and feelings were.
    •  He lied to me about number of partners, “I only really (what does really mean?) have sex with you and her”, two weeks later, “I slept with two Mexican women”, four weeks later, “it’s you, her, _____, _____, _____ and the two Mexican women, that’s it.”
    •  He compared me to his ex, projecting her behavior on me and often said he was, “waiting for me to explode like she used to”
    • He required too much of my time from the get-go, it was unnecessary and frankly, a bit needy.
    • He had me calling him Sir and Mister immediately
    • He told me when I was his submissive and it was way too soon.
    • He bragged a lot.
    • He didn’t use safe words.

This just about sums it up. It may or may not have gotten worse, had I stayed. He may or may not be a terrible person for anyone to get involved with, I don’t know. Maybe he’s just fine with her. She doesn’t seem the least bit victimized. All I know with certainty is that he was not good for me. I’m confident in that. I don’t think kindly about the guy and hope to see as little of him as possible in my future.

On to bigger and better things in my life and I couldn’t be happier about that. I feel I dodged a bullet.

…the fuck was I doing?

Seriously. What was I doing writing post after post on my blog, criticizing myself over the last two years? Not that all I do is criticize myself, but I realized tonight that I spend a fair amount of time doing it. My psychiatrist once told me that guilt is a useless sort of feeling. It should be reserved for times when a person truly does something wrong. Like lying. Or abuse. Murder. Two out of three on the list, I have never done. The last I have squeezed out of my system. Just skimming  my posts, I see that I harbor incredible amounts of guilt for so called (so called by me) crimes that I commit. I feel guilty and am apologetic about characteristics I posses that are unquestionably good personality traits. I am a perfectionist; one who attempts to carve herself into something unrecognizable to herself and those around her.

Interestingly, most of the trouble began when I pushed my toe against the fragile side of the comfortable bubble I formed around myself over the years. The trouble got worse as I slipped my foot through the soapy barrier and it got to its very worst after a year of attempting to find love, and watching my attempts fail time and again.

I’m done with it. I’m done making life harder for myself. I’m going to go a bit easier on myself. That’s an unsubstantial sort of idea, but an important thought, I think. Here’s a solid idea that I think will help with that wispy idea:

First, the background: one of my sisters doesn’t get involved in committed romantic relationships. I won’t pretend that I know exactly why she does this. After a conversation or ten with her about this, about myself and most pointedly about myself in relationships, I want to revisit an idea I had in January, minus the prescribed time frame. To commit to myself and no one else. I will be up front. I will have an open heart (as if I could have anything short of that, this is one of my lovelier qualities). I will have fun. My hope is that in doing this, I will feel I can be myself. Relationships are messy for anyone, I think. For me, for now, I’m not willing to muddy myself up by getting seriously involved.

Truth is (take two)

True to my form, I feel I need to backpedal a bit on my last post. First, a bit about my way of being. I’m not a very angry person. I try not to let bad feelings about people fester and destroy my soul. I don’t harbor bad feelings for the sake of my soul alone. I tend to be an incredibly forgiving person, from what I’ve gathered from my friend’s opinions of me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect. I have a ton of flaws. But folks say I have a heart of gold and when it comes to other human beings, I can see where those who have said that are coming from. Read more of this post

Truth is…

The three months that I dated Mister were surreal. For a while, I thought I was living a fantasy. In reality, while the time was not a nightmare, it wasn’t exactly a dream either. I once wrote about how often I lose myself in relationships. In the three months since Mister and I broke up, I have gotten clarity on the fact that this has never been more true than in my relationship with him. Read more of this post