Conversations With My Psychiatrist | Dealing With The Aftermath

My psychiatrist prescribed Trintellix for me in October of last year. One of my problems over the past ten years and more, has been sleeping. Basically I do too much of it, and I’m still tired all the time. The Trintellix, taken soon after I woke up, was supposed to keep me up in the morning, instead of me taking four-hour naps after I got the kids off to school.

We started at 5mgs, with the idea being that we would increase the Trintellix over time, while decreasing the Abilify — dropping the Abilify from 20mgs to 17mgs made sleeping difficult for the first couple of nights, but I took a Trazadone on the third night, and I’ve been sleeping great at night ever since (I was only supposed to drop the Abilify to 18mgs at first, but I made misread the label on the bottle).

So I took the Trintellix for three weeks… maybe a little less, but taking it did nothing to make me less tired, it just wouldn’t let me fall asleep for a nap… and if I could nap, my head would be buzzing. So I stopped taking it, cold turkey. I’ve been sleeping a lot during the day recently, even for me, so I had been thinking of restarting the Trintellix. My psychiatrist agreed that it’d be a good idea, so I’ll start again tomorrow morning.

My Aunt died recently. I’ll write more about that, and her, later. I’m still trying to figure some stuff out. Basically she helped raise my brother and I, along with her two kids, while we were in the Cult. She had escaped early on in its existence, but was convinced to come back… she negotiated her way back in, with the criteria being she wouldn’t take part in day-to-day activities, and that she would live, with her kids, in a house separate from the Cult.

…separate but close. She ended up across the street and down a few houses.

The deal was, basically, if everyone left her alone, she’d mind her own business.

The reason she escaped the Cult was a decision had been made that, since no one person was to have a bond with the kids over anyone else, she would not be able to breastfeed her baby. So she saved up her pennies and nickels, hiding them in her underwear drawer, and when she had enough for train fare to her parents home town, off she went with her daughter.

She had only been a member of the Cult for about two years at that point.

When she came back she became our babysitter, and her home became a safe place for the kids to be in. After the Cult collapsed in on itself, she helped my mother escape with my brother and myself. So we were pretty close after that. For my mother, my Aunt was the only person she could relate to when it came to those years. In many ways, my Aunt was my memory-keeper for those years as well. We would visit with her once or twice a year, and she was always willing to answer my questions.

My mother took my Aunts death pretty hard. Because of the Pandemic, we hadn’t seen her since 2018. Basically the cause of death was ‘she just didn’t wake up’. She was a few years younger than my mother, and a confidant of my mother’s for many, many years.

About a week after we learned of my Aunt’s passing, I was driving my mother to and from her office. On the way back I asked how she was dealing with the death, and she opened up about it. Which surprised me. She said she’s at an age now where the circles are moving in… she’s losing friend’s to old age, and now she had no one to share her memories from large pieces of her life.

…the day after we found out my Aunt had died, one of my mother’s longest and dearest friends had a heart attack, and was in the hospital for a little over a week. Another long-time friend is in the end stages of ALS. So my mother is feeling her mortality.

A few days after the car ride, I sent a Facebook message to my mother asking her how long my brother and I had stayed with my Aunt. I was trying to write a piece about her (still am), and had a memory of being with my Aunt for a few weeks in a row. I was very apprehensive about sending the message, because historically, anytime I initiate a conversation about the Cult, it degenerates into confrontation pretty quickly.

But this time my mother sent me a long, rational, email in response. In it she described the early years of the Cult, how it all started, how we ended up in the city that we lived in for so long. Most of what she described I already knew from talking to my Aunt, and a few other people from the Cult. But it was the first time I’ve read my mother’s account of those very early days.

I’m not sure what to do with it… it’s the first time she has opened up about those times in years, even if it was just a few memories. The problem I have, is I’ve always had memories of my childhood, but I’ve never been able to discern if those memories are in order, if they’re real to begin with, and who’s in them with me.

Not only are my memories jumbled, but because those years were kept secret, I don’t have any recollection of things that did happen that I should remember… .

Anyway… I’m taking it as a good sign, and I intend to ask a few questions and see how it goes…

My psychiatrist and I talked briefly talked about other stuff as well… she’d like me to be getting out more, especially with my camera. But she was happy that I’ve started taking an interest in my book again. I’m pretty sure my book deal has expired — I haven’t talked to the Publisher in more than ten years, and I’m in no hurry to find out if I owe them my advances — but if it was a good idea once, maybe it’ll be a good idea again.

I’ve been reading interviews I did for the book, and everything is still relevant. I was really surprised at how coherent I was in asking questions. I also read the 30,000 words I submitted to the Publisher… I always have a hard time recognizing my ‘written voice’ after leaving a piece of writing for a long time, and this time was no different. But I like them. We’ll see.

Posted in Appointment Day, Bipolar, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, Clinical Depression, Family, Father, Health, Memories, Mother, Psychiatry | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Happy Christmas And A Merry New Year… Or Something

We didn’t celebrate Christmas when I growing up. I knew about Jesus and Santa from school, of course, but one of my earliest memories is listening from the top of the stairs while my father argued with some other member of the Cult that “he can believe in Santa Claus or Jesus, but not both”. I think they were talking about me.

I had my first real Christmas, at least one that I can remember, when I was eight. The year we escaped the Cult. We had a small apartment in a tiny city and a tiny tree, but we spent the actual week with my mother’s parents hobby-farm in the mountains. The first gift I remember receiving was a small pair of cross-country skis.

I remember the best part of the Day was watching the wrapping paper burn in the fireplace. Somehow the flames would change colour depending on the colour of the paper.

I never had a real connection to Christmas other than it being a time to receive presents. The ‘giving’ part of the Day came later, when I was old enough to start dating but, although I respected the religious aspect of the Day, it was never the primary concern. Occasionally my mother had us write letters to Santa — even though I had stopped believing after listening to that argument, but we never went to Church. Basically it was never a Religious Day for my brother and myself.

My little brother has had a slow conversion, when he had his first and only child he started taking the religious parts of the Season to heart. He goes to mass every Sunday with his little family now. When I had my first son, I started to take the secular traditions around Christmas more seriously. I taught him about Jesus and Santa, and decided it was quite alright for him to believe in both. But we always have a tree (this year’s is a little on the small side), and there’s always cookies and Egg Nog for Santa. And there’s always lots of presents, and dinner with their Grandparents.

Anyway… there’s a YouTube video worth watching below. If all you see is a large blank space, maybe try reloading the page. If that doesn’t work, just click HERE. It’s worth it.

…so — even though there’s zero evidence Jesus was born in December; and that it’s pretty ‘Sus’ that Mary and Joseph would travel all the way from their homes in Nazareth to faraway Bethlehem by donkey just so they could give birth in a barn; and the fact that during the nine months of the pregnancy the good people of Nazareth would have had to buy into the story that one of their own was impregnated by a deity; and what about the Holy Bible’s Deuteronomy (20-21) which clearly stated that “[if] no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done an outrageous thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you…” I’m sure that little law played no part in a 14-year old Mary and the Virgin Birth story — from our household to yours, Merry Christmas.

Posted in Baby Quintin, BiPolar Christmas, crazy people with no pants, Depression And Christmas, Health, Humor, Humour, Little Victor, Memories, Old men in red suits, Punk | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Conversations With My Psychotherapist Are Coming To An End

“…our biggest trigger while I was growing up, was me asking questions about my past. Any questions about the Cult we grew up in, or anything regarding my father, or even anything regarding my father’s side of the family, were absolutely forbidden. Any conversation about either was predetermined to end up with my mother yelling at me.”
–‘Bonding Part Two: The Punishments She Did And Didn’t Hand Out.’

“Well, if I had my way
I had a, a wicked mind
If I had a, oh Lord, I’d tear this building down!”

–“If I Had My Way I’d Tear The Building Down” (1927); Blind Willie Johnson, ‘Dark Was The Night’

In addition to regular appointments with my psychiatrist, I also see a psychotherapist every two to four weeks. I’ve been seeing her for almost a year now. Which means our time together is winding down as the Government only pays for 26-sessions. I’m really not sure what I’ve learned over the past year.

When we first started out, she asked a bunch of questions about me and my life — she already had the gist of it from notes she received from my psychiatrist so I just had to fill in the holes… basically she wanted to know my Depression Triggers. Specifically what my relationship with my mother was like.

I told her about the Cult I grew up in, how I was raised by a Collective where the children were not allowed to have a connection to any one individual over another, so I didn’t know my mother until she escaped with my brother and myself when I was eight-years old. Then there were the years of her working odd jobs, at weird hours, which meant my brother and I were left on our own with babysitters in the beginning, and then just on our own as we got older. So my mother and I never had a chance to know each other, which means we’ve spent most of our time together arguing and misunderstanding each other.

So that’s what we’ve been talking about… for a year. It has gotten very, very tedious. For the first twelve sessions, we used ‘Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy, or EMDR, to work out my Mother issues. And, for some of them, the EMDR seems to have worked. But overall I don’t think I’ve learned more than I already knew…

…she was raised by an absentee father, and an abusive sociopath for a mother. In an attempt to escape from her home situation, she ran into the arms of my Father, who turned out to be an even worse, even more abusive sociopath. When she finally escaped my Father, she had the option of going back to living with her original abuser, but getting free rent and school, or going off on her own with two kids who barely knew her.

It was an impossible choice… and I resent my grandfather for forcing her to make it. But she made her choice, and it was to be on her own. She decided being alone would be better for us than being with her parents. She was escaping abuse, and didn’t want to be abused again.

I think one of the points my psychotherapist has been trying to make for the past year is that it’s easy for me to say that, in hindsight, she could have dealt with it for another few years, to make a better future. But, having lived with her choice for the past few decades, it’s just hard for me to look at her choice and say she made the right one.

Like, instead of a ‘Sophie’s Choice’, there should have been some negotiation or something. Dammit. There was no ‘right choice’, so why not pick the one with the potential for a better future?

And back and forth it goes… if there were sides, I believe my psychotherapist would definitely be on the side of my mother. At least that’s how it seems. She has spent entire sessions recently going over what an incredibly hard decision it was for my mother to make. When I try to explain that I know that, that I’m aware of what a Choice it was, I just get talked over. I think we’re stuck on the wrong issue… yes, this Choice is the Root of our misunderstandings and arguments, but there are several branches that need to be dealt with.

It’s not like we have a lot of time left… my mother is 72-years old now, our relationship is one where we don’t talk to each other about day-to-day stuff, because we’ve conditioned each other to expect an attack of some kind. My psychotherapist wants me to bring up positive things then, instead of shutting down if and when my mother makes a negative or passive aggressive comment, to try and push through. Keep it positive. Put a positive spin on the topic.

…of course one of the problems is trying to find something positive, or negative for that matter, in my life to share. It’s not as though I do a whole lot, or have a lot to report. Her point is to share more with my mother, in an attempt to break the conditioning of the past thirty-five years.

The thing about conditioning though, is that it’s almost impossible to get the dog to stop salivating at the sound of the bell.

Posted in Appointment Day, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, Clinical Depression, Depression, Family, Granny, Health, Mother, Photography | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Bonding Part Two: The Punishments She Did And Didn’t Hand Out

“So for the first few years of my life my Mother wasn’t there, for the next five years of my life I was a group chore, with little to no idea who she was to me. Then, for the next six to eight years, I was a latchkey kid while she tried to make a life for us.
“So the question is… when did my Mother and I have time to bond? How much of the yelling and screaming and threats that we went through for my early-to-mid teens had to do with the lack of understanding who we were as individuals?”

–“Bonding Part One: Two Choices She Made That Made Me”… the one I wrote before this one.


“Yeah, you’ve got to help us Doc, we’ve tried nothing and we’re all out of ideas.”
Mona Flanders, ‘The Simpsons’, “Hurricane Neddy”; Season 8, Episode 8, 1989


“I definitely don’t hate my mom, she was a complicated and nuanced person.”
— Jennette McCurdy, on ‘The Daily Show’; Sept. 17, 2022.

I was never really disciplined as a child. The Cult I grew up in believed that the Individual couldn’t have a connection to the children over anyone else. Therefore the care of the children belonged to the Group. We were on a daily chore list — on Tuesday, John was in charge of making sure we were fed and in school. On Wednesday it was Barry. But there was no list for what to do when I misbehaved.

I remember a few occasions where I was punished for doing Something by being put into a small room and being forced to transcribe books onto blank paper using crayons. But, really, that was it. There were also Criticism Sessions, where a person had to admit wrongdoing in front of the Group, then hear from the Rest of the Collective about how they were each affected by the ‘misdeed’. The children were mostly immune from the Criticism Sessions, but I do remember once having to stand in front of everyone and admit to having dropped a bag of milk. The adults, however, were constantly in debate mode.

…imagine a group of highly intelligent, educated young teachers and University students tearing into each other almost daily over things as random as whether French Fries are boiled or fried, to whether or not a young mother could breastfeed her own child. They were cruel to each other, as each one tried to prove to the others that they were the most pious, the most pure…

…anyway. Mostly I was just left on my own. This didn’t change after we escaped. After we left the Cult, and we were on our own, my mother did her best to keep us fed, showered, and in clean clothes, and she tried her best to be around, but she was receiving no child support from my Father, and working low paying jobs that usually had weird hours.

But she couldn’t be there and, over the years, what happened was things would build up and build up, until there was an explosion. Not at first, though. At first we were just gliding along, trying to get to know each other. Plus I was too young to understand anything that was going on, or what had already happened. All I knew was that we went from a house full of people, sharing a bedroom with six other kids, to a three person unit headed up by someone I barely knew.

The results of such a lack of discipline really began to manifest around the time I was entering high school. I was lost in school. Nobody was around to help me.

…our biggest trigger while I was growing up, was me asking questions about my past. Any questions about the Cult we grew up in, or anything regarding my father, or even anything regarding my father’s side of the family, were absolutely forbidden. Any conversation about either was predetermined to end up with my mother yelling at me.

The next biggest trigger were my marks in school… but it was a close second. I was never more than a C+ student, and that was never a major issue for my mother. But when I was sixteen I started skipping school. My marks gradually went into the toilet. By the time I was seventeen, I was failing everything.

There were never any consequences, just yelling on the day my report card would come in. But it wasn’t just simple yelling, it was a Criticism Session. It was her loudly and passionately telling me all the things I was doing wrong, but with no solutions, and me just standing there, speechless and with a cocked arm ready to hit her.

When I seventeen, this is how our triggers manifested themselves. Months of ignoring the problems, never mind finding solutions, then a nuclear explosion when confronted with the failures. This was her idea of discipline. This is also when my mother started threatening me with Foster Care.

But nothing worked because only Nothing was offered as a solution, and the occasional threats of her sending me to live with another family only pushed me further away.

…my marks continued to be bad, if not horrible. Instead of admitting to some culpability in the mess, and spending more time with me after school, and just fucking helping out with my homework, she took me to visit my uncle up in the mountains. My mother’s idea was to have “a man” talk to me. As if her brother, who was missing for most of my life, could suddenly become a father-figure. Someone who could influence my choices and put me on the right track.

Instead he sat us down at the kitchen table, and proceeded to threaten me with a beating. After examining my latest report card, filled with failure, he pointed to a thick paddle hanging on his wall and told me that for every failing mark I received in the future, I would get hit with it.

Of course it changed nothing. I never got hit, I kept getting getting shitty marks because I was on my own, I had always been on my own. I never failed a Grade, although I should have many times. I kept moving up in my Grades because my teachers saw potential. Or they were just lazy or clueless.

…I don’t remember what the conversation / argument was but, on the way back from her parents home, in the middle of the night, on a rural back road two-lane highway, we were discussing Family Matters… and I told my mother to go fuck herself. I was sixteen or seventeen. She dared me to say it again, so I did… much quieter, but still. So she pulled over and kicked me out of the truck. We were seven miles from home, on a chilly Fall night. I had been walking for almost forty-five minutes when the police found me.

They pulled over, and asked where I was coming from. I could have narced on my mother, but I didn’t. I told the police that I was coming from a party. They asked where the party was, and I waved my hand towards a dark house maybe half a mile from where we were standing. The policeman obviously didn’t believe me.

He asked where I lived, and I was honest with him. So they put me in the backseat, and drove me home… they followed me into the house when I walked in. My brother and mother were sitting on the couch, watching TV. My mother, seeing the police, bolted up from the couch. I do remember the shock on her face. But I don’t remember much after that, except going upstairs to my room.

Of course we never spoke of the incident again. Because that’s was how we continue to deal with our triggers.

Posted in Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, Clinical Depression, Family, Health, Mother, Photography | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Thursday Conversations With My Psychiatrist | New Pills & A Car Wreck

I’ve changed psychiatrists since I wrote the last one of these. My last psychiatrist — the one who saved my life, retired… or something, he told me my regular Doctor could treat me. So I went without a psychiatrist and talk therapy for the first time in almost fifteen years, but that turned out to be a mistake.

Also, I didn’t trust my Family Doctor to have any idea what meds I should be taking, or the dosage, and I told him that at our first meeting. So he referred me back to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and they called me to ask their standard LOCUS (Level of Care Utilization System) questions. I waited a few months, and then I had access to a new psychiatrist, Dr. LH.

And she’s been awesome. She asks questions pertinent to my life, I don’t have to recap our previous appointment, and she’s engaging. I’ve learned a lot from her over the past two years… unfortunately, she’s also planning on retiring soon. Sigh.

Here’s what we discussed at our latest appointment…

I had an accident with the car the morning of my appointment. I was taking the kids to school, I was tired, and wasn’t paying attention. I backed out of the driveway, and turned right into my neighbour’s parked car. She had parked in the street because she was having major work done on her back steps. It’s my first accident as a driver. There was no damage to her car, but mine is not a little fucked. Big dent in the back right side, and one of the quarter panels has been pushed in.

Surprisingly my first reaction wasn’t to jump head first into a depression. I did get angry at myself, but I was also surprisingly calm. I think some of that had to do with the kids being in the car at the time.

I think I was still in shock when I told Dr. LH.

We didn’t linger too much on the accident. She made sure I was okay, and that if I did fall into a depression that I was to call her.

The mechanic says he can fix most of it, but I’m a little skeptical. It looks like a basketball-sized hole was dug out of my car. The car is fifteen-years old, and I just put $600 into a new fuel pump and I need new winter tires. That’ll be another $400. This is not good.

After a pause of a few seconds, I finally brought up the not-showering thing. I told her I hadn’t showered in a couple of weeks, and that it wasn’t unusual for me to do that… and the only reason I had showered on that particular day was because I had an appointment with my Foot Nurse.

…I explained to Dr. LH that as a diabetic I’m able to get free foot care from the local Family Health Centre, which means I have someone cut my nails and take care of the hyperkeratosis (it’s relatively mild) on my feet. Basically I get a free pedicure every six to eight weeks, because doing it myself, or having someone untrained do it, might mean bleeding and an infection, and goodbye foot. This also means I have to shower for the appointment, because it makes my feet soft and easier to groom.

It comes down to a form of mental inertia… when I do force myself to shower, or I’m forced to because of an appointment or a function, I wonder what all the fuss had been about when I finish. I tell myself that it’s just too easy — turn on the water, get undressed, get in, wash, rinse, get out and get dressed. What’s the big freaking deal?

But, three days later it is a big deal again: I’ll do it later, I’m too late for something so I have no time, I’m too tired, there’s no reason to do it right away, just fuck off about it already, I’ll do it later.

It’s ridiculous but there it is… it’s now been two weeks since my appointment for my feet, and I haven’t showered since. I did get my hair cut a few days ago, so the hairdresser washed my hair, and I did shave my beard down to a respectable length tonight… so there’s that.

She told me that the feeling of Everything being a step too far was not unusual with people suffering from chronic depression. We didn’t talk about it very long, but basically it comes down to ‘the supply chain’ is broken — ie: it takes a million little steps to make a car. Right now the supply chain is broken so the car can’t be built, or it gets really expensive to build it, so it never gets bought. So… regarding the showering, the two dozen steps it takes to get one done are just too much for me to get through.

This is my own analogy, so bear with me. You don’t ‘just’ shower. You have to buy the soap. That means getting to a store. That means driving or getting a ride. That means organization. That means having the money. Once you have the soap, you have to get the time. That means planning, and more organizing, plus you need to have the desire, or the need to get it done. It’s a mental inertia… my supply chain is busted.

I think that makes sense… she liked my analogy anyway.

I also told her I’ve been getting some great sleep over the past ten days. I’ve been mostly staying awake during the day — working on this blog, reading comments, making comments on Other Blogs, which is making me tired at the right time. She was very happy to hear this for a couple of reasons:

Sleep is vital to recovering from a mental illness. At least getting control over it is. I was an insomniac for the fourteen to eighteen years I was untreated, and it’s just a vicious circle… the disease won’t let you sleep, and the lack of sleep feeds the disease. The only way to stop the cycle is to really hit it with a sledgehammer… for myself that means Seroquel and Abilify at bedtime. Both operate as a sedative, and just turn my brain off long enough to fall to sleep. If things are really bad, I’ll take a Zoplicone. It’s specifically for insomnia, and is non-addictive.

The other reason my psychiatrist is happy is because I actually have an interest in doing something during the day. This blog, along with medications and talk therapy with a psychiatrist, was a vital piece of my Recovery for most of the past 16-years. Writing, for me, has always been an important way of working issues out… I described it to my psychiatrist it’s like a way to massage the knots out of my brain, kind of like EMDR. She liked that.

The last major issue we discussed was adjusting my meds. Specifically the Abilify… I had a possible epiphany a few days ago that maybe, just maybe, the reason I’m tired all day is because I’m on the max dose of the med.

Every mood stabilizer I’ve ever been on — the Lithium, the Epival, and now the Abilify, has been prescribed at or close to the max dose. I think the general idea was that the dosage would come down over time, but I never had any crazy side effects, so the dose remained the same.

I was never tired with the Lithium. I don’t remember being tired all the time on the Epival, but I think some of the responsibility for the tiredness I feel daily comes from the Abilify. So my newish psychiatrist and I have decided to start reducing the prescription a little at the time. So from 20mgs to 18mgs to start.

It was never something I thought too much about until very recently, while I was reading Other Blogs, that maybe there was a connection to my needing five-hour naps everyday and the drug I was taking. It’s just that the dose seemed so small… 20mgs is not a big number considering I was taking 2100mgs of Lithium, and 1600mgs of the Epival.

As the Abilify comes down, I’ll start taking Trintellix — “[t]his medication may improve your mood, sleep, appetite, and energy level and may help restore your interest in daily living.”. I’ll begin at 5mg in two weeks, just so I have time to get used to the effects on my sleep at the new Abilify dose. The basic plan is, as the Abilify comes down, the Trintellix will go up.

The thing is I’m normally very wary of changing medications, or even the dose… and now I’ll be doing both at the same time. This will be interesting.

Posted in Appointment Day, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, Blogging, Health, Lithium, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression, Mental Health, Psychiatry, Sleep | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

The Day-To-Day Indignity Of Manic Depression

“Caring for yourself, looking after your physical health, just isn’t a priority for someone who constantly wants to die.”
— ‘When You Spend 6570 Consecutive Days Wanting To Kill Yourself The Little Things Get Neglected… Like Dental Hygiene’: June 13, 2007; by Gabriel…

“We need to be able to find small victories, little moments we can lose ourselves in so we can fight against the voice in our head telling us what a huge fucking failure we’ve become because we couldn’t stop failing over the years and decades which make up our lives.”
— ‘When Relying On Small Victories To Move Through Depression There’s A Very Real Risk The Small Defeats Will Carry Us Under’: January 7, 2008; by Gabriel…

I get exhausted doing the day-to-day things everyone else in my life seems to do without thinking.

The mundane becomes overwhelming. The trivialities of everyday life become exhausting, so that even attempting the little things become too difficult knowing how drained I’m going to be. Basically we get hit so many times with failure that we flinch at the thought of doing something trivial, until the basic essentials of everyday life become mountains to overcome.

We get so engulfed in the double edged sword of bipolar disease — the near constant of depressions and the extreme highs become such a burden on our lives, that our ability to do the routine stuff gets lost.

…like staying awake. Or keeping appointments. Or changing the bed. Or showering.

I think it gets even worse when someone with Bipolar or Chronic Depression is on Disability, or living alone, because there really is no reason to get clean. There’s no reason not to sleep. There’s no reason to get the laundry done or the dishes clean. There’s no structure to the day except that which we are trained to do as children, and that training got overwhelmed by the Depressions and the Manics.

And I’ve been mostly on my own for the past four-years.

Which might explain why I don’t shower with any regularity any more. I had one a few days ago because I had an appointment for my feet, but that was the first one since my last Doctor’s appointment three weeks ago.

I’m at the point where if it wasn’t for those appointments… I don’t know. When I was untreated, I’d also go weeks without showering.

During the last two years of high school I was chronically depressed because of the manic depression. I was missing half of my classes, I was drinking heavily on weekends, and I stopped showering regularly. I would wash my hair twice a week but leave my body rotting for weeks at a time. My nickname was Sloth… but I didn’t know that until years later when a friend I hadn’t seen in years apologized for how he treated me. It was because I was physically slow and reeked most of the time.

Things got a little better in the years afterwards, when I started working, and I was dating regularly, but the behaviours ingrained on me by the Depressions were just too strong. By the time the moments of lucidity came around, when the manics and depressions were taking a break, the size and amount of the chores left to me were just too much to deal with. So even if I was able to wash myself, dishes were left to the mould, and the mounds of clothes remained unwashed.

Over the past four years things have reverted back to how they were in high school. I just don’t know why I don’t shower more. I’ve never talked to my therapist or psychiatrist about it. Again, I don’t know why. Shame, probably. I just can’t find a reason to get clean.

It has reached the point where my kids are making comments — I do make sure they’re showered every night — so I know others must be noticing.

I just don’t know how to fix it. I’ll tell myself that “today’s the day”, or tonight is the night, or I’ll get up extra early, or I’ll do it before bed… but I sleep in, or I’m too tired at night, or I just forget until I’m half asleep and I can’t be bothered to get up and get it done.

Basically I tell myself I’ll do it when I’m not so tired, but I’m tired all the time.

…there are just too many things in my life I’m dealing with by not dealing with them.

I have to work on not being tired, that’s one. I have to clear this mental block I have that prevents me from wanting to get clean, that’s two… I’m not sure what three is. There really should be a third thing. And probably ten more, but I’m tired.

Basically my life right now is: get up; feed the kids; make sure they get to school somewhat on time; take my pills; go back to bed for four or five hours; get up again; get the kids some supper; pick up the kids from school; keep them entertained until bedtime; watch the news; take my pills, and; back to sleep.

I read something recently that basically said “the first 95% is the easy part, it’s the last 5% that’s the most work”. Or something. Maybe it was “95% of the work is the last 5% of the job”. That sounds right. I’ve managed, with a LOT of effort to get the bipolar under control… for the most part. But it’s the last pieces, the last of the bipolar behaviours, that I need to fix while maintaining that control.

Posted in Bipolar, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, Clinical Depression, Health, Living With Depression, Manic Depression, Mental Health | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments