Bipolar, Human Behaviour, information

Bipolar Season

The disability of the bipolar mind aches for sunshine.

Unaffected people don’t understand how the dim days have such an impact, and even our doctors cannot be empathetic, only sympathetic. But we can understand each other.

We know the reason for trying to stay in bed as long as possible is counterproductive to our condition. But it’s the season. Winter sucks in more ways than one. Everything takes longer in the winter. Clearing snow off cars, driving in slush and snow shaves time off the precious few hours of daylight we have. More layers of clothes take longer to put on. Walking takes longer. Coffee shop lineups take longer, because more people need that hot caffeine—and we with bipolar need more than that.

The problem is, treatment for depression in persons who have bipolar is dicey. Antidepressants can push the brain into mania, and no treatment with medication keeps us in the pit. So we must be carefully monitored by our doctor either way.

It’s bipolar season. We must be prepared each year if we live in areas where winter manifests with gobs of snow and breathtaking frigid temps. It’s cold, the sun makes a rather brief appearance, and the whole world looks grey in our view and in our heads. We need to work on our mood skills. And we can. It’s the middle of January, we have enough winter left for us to work on feeling less like we’ve died and are waiting to be put to rest. We’re alive, our brain needs our efforts. C’mon, let’s get up.

There are things we are able do to help ourselves. Sometimes it dreadfully difficult, but it is not insurmountable. What’s the alternative anyway?

Get up and go to bed around the same time, even on weekends. Our brain needs consistency.

Take medications as near to the same time as possible. Meds work best if the distribution to our bloodstream is regular.

Avoid alcohol. It’s a depressant. A sociable drink or two when you’re well isn’t terrible, but alcohol is easy to become addicted to because of its legal availability and the illusion of remedy.

No one who is depressed wants to go out unless a job pulls us out. If you don’t work outside your home, make yourself go into a mall. The stimulation is more than you’d think. Any reasonable stimulation for our brain is good even though we may not feel it. Go have a coffee or tea somewhere, preferably with a friend. If a friend isn’t available, go anyway. Sit in, finish your coffee or tea while listening to alive sounds of conversation murmurs and dishes clinking in the kitchen. It’s a small step, but it makes a big difference in our human brain, our weary mind.

Play some favourite music. I know it won’t feel like it’s your favourite, nothing really does during depression. So just do it. While it’s playing, go make your bed so you’re less inclined to get back in it. Watch a movie or surf Netflix. It’s helps with mind racing if there’s something to focus on.

Remember to eat properly. It helps to combat fatigue.

Text a friend or two and tell them you feel empty. Ask for a voice conversation. Don’t hide the fact you’re depressed. It shows in your eyes, voice, and body language anyway, so tell a friend you need support.

Accept company even when you’d rather hide in your jammies and mindlessly scroll past Facebook ads. It need not be a long visit, but it’s reassuring to not feel like the last human on earth.

Write yourself a note about how you’re feeling before and after doing something to stimulate your mind. Eventually you’ll see what makes the biggest difference.

Do some housecleaning, especially in the room you spend most of your time. Clear surroundings declutter the mind, too. And colour! Adult colouring books are the best invention ever.

If you’re having racing thoughts, remember it’s just the depression speaking. If you have thoughts about taking your life, call for help. Don’t second guess yourself, call immediately. There are different numbers for various areas, so jump on Google and type in suicide hotline and your city, province or state. Your life is worth way more than you think. No one is going to be better off without you, including you.

If you live with someone, tell them you are depressed. If you live alone, make sure a friend or two knows. It’s a pretty hard secret to keep. It makes us feel very alone.

One of the most important things to do is remember this is temporary. Even a long temporary is still not forever. And you have bipolar, you are not bipolar. Remember this always.

We have bipolar. We are creative. We are survivors. We are strong, and we all love it spring comes—winter is also temporary. We have so much to offer. We have talents and maybe they’re still hidden, but we do have talent; it is a magnificent gift to share. Check out famous bipolar people on Google. I could hardly get my fattened head through the door when I saw who I share this big ole bipolar with. We can do this bipolar season. We’re nearing the end of it. Keep your chin up. Give yourself a smile in the mirror. That tricks the brain, believe or not, into thinking we are happier than we feel.

We matter. Bipolar, bipolar, let wellness come over.

Thanks for reading.

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Cat lovers, cats mental health, information

Cats and Depression

Staying in dark, quiet places spells trouble if it is becoming your cat’s habit.

Cats do like dark quiet places to rest, but if you notice they’re spending more time away from the family than usual, your cat may be becoming depressed. If you’re like me and your cat or cats are not merely pets, but family members, you’ll notice their absents rather quickly.

Sax is my Maine Coon. He’s the one with his face showing in the photo. We traveled to another town to get him not knowing our choice would be him. I was looking for a black and white female as I was told they have dynamic personalities. This little girl kitten wasn’t looking for me. She pushed all of her legs against me in protest to cuddles. It’s unusual for a cat or kitten to push me away. My friend calls me Dr. Doolittle when we walk. Neighbourhood cats follow me, dogs strain leashes to get head rubs. Meanwhile, the only striped kitten of the litter had his sights fixed on me and my hubby. We held him and he loosed the purrs instantly. (Wrap ’em up!) He rode in the car like  he owned it, and he has no adjustment period at his new home. He was in and that was that. He lives up to his name, too, entertaining us with his personality and antics.

Sax became more aggressive with me as he got into his teenager-type years, I was his cat friend. I played hide and go seek with him, I roughed him up on the bed for a good ole cat fight simulation, and I taught him many tricks, words and phrases. I let him chase me, and I chased him. But it became apparent he needed another cat to chum with and do cat stuff, like the mutual washing. I adore my cat, but I just couldn’t bring myself to enjoy cat fur on my tongue. Ew—haha. That’s reasonable, isn’t it?

We adopted a rescue. Sax growled for four days. I kept Purrla in a separate room when I wasn’t present. Purrla was the size of a large muffin when I brought her home with blue eyes. Tender loving care was showered upon her as she was abandoned by her mother. When she finally meowed with her teeny voice, the gentle giant realized she was a baby cat and took over from there. He taught her the life of cat ways, washing her and often sitting on her to clean her back feet and her bottom after using the litter box. He showed her how to open the cabinet by the stove, how to toss a catnip toy around, and she was shown how to change the pitch of her meow to get treats. It was sweet to watch.

All was well for years. But Purrla has totitude. She goes out of her way to take swings at him, and she is trying to take over what was first his domain. Instead of fighting back, he tolerates her. He’s a big boy, he could send her rolling, but he takes the abuse.

I recently noticed his absents at night while bingeing on Netflix by the fireplace. In the day I was looking for him, too. He decided my writing lair closet was his safe place.

My husband didn’t agree cats could get depressed. It’s a good thing I know they can.

I went and got Sax to come downstairs with Purrla, me and his dad, who is of course my husband. If he left and went back to the closet, I’d turn on the light, sit with him and gently speak to him, petting him and scratching under his chin, backs of his ears. I’d pick him up and carry him back downstairs. I’d do that a few times a night if necessary. In the day I kept bringing him out and talking almost constantly to him. I’ve been doing this for a couple weeks and the improvement is vast. His eyes don’t look sad now. He’s starting to come when I call him. He’s been sleeping in areas I’m in during the day. He walks faster, he plays with toys, he asks for treats, and his appetite has improved.

Purrla is being disciplined and she’s adjusting her little black and red coat attitude. Yes, it is possible to train and discipline a cat. No, really. Expect a scratch and spit here and there, and you’ll be shunned with tail flicks, but it is possible to reroute their behaviour. Notice she isn’t cuddled up to him? I’m sad they aren’t good buddies.

I caught Sax’s descent into depression early. I’m no stranger to depression, so I could relate to his wanting to hide in dark, quiet places. It’s true. Our beloved fur babies can become depressed. Watch for hiding, appetite decrease, and, although it may seem weird, look at their eyes. Their eyes change shape slightly with cat’s facial expressions, so depressed cats look a lot like they do when you’re loading them up for a vet trip. Also, their tails tell a lot. A cat walking around with their tail up is good. Tails close to the legs indicates unhappiness of some sort. Whiskers, too. Straight out to the side or perked forward is good, pointing to the floor, not so good.

Am I a cat specialist? No. Do I research and learn because I’m a devoted cat mom and the subject has interested me since childhood? Yup. That’s it. I’m a hopelessly committed cat lady.

Here’s to furry mental heath, and ours, too.

Thanks for reading.

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Human Behaviour, Human Nature

Let the Addict Talk

People have lots to say about that defiant kid who got messed up in crack, heroine, fentanyl or other dirty drugs. Disrespectful and useless, they say. The kid had a choice and chose wrongly.  The kid will end up in jail or dead, just watch and see, they say.

Sometimes it isn’t just the wrong choice. What if, to that kid, it feels like the only choice after some ruthless dealer supplied the drug to try. Try before you buy, right? And it felt good to be euphoric, even if it was an illusion, and accepted! But why would a kid even fall for that? Why is he or she hanging out with those kinds of kids? Why? Because home life is dysfunctional, perhaps. Because the kid can relate better to kids who get him or her. Anything is better than the nothingness of a hopeless home life, an abusive parent who hates, and long since lost hope when there was only a thin trickle of optimism to begin with.

If the kid has an alcoholic, psychotic father and a mother too terrified to do something or tell someone, her kid will look for other ways to cope. And it sure isn’t going to be cuddling up to a favourite stuffy as a teenager.

Life is never easy. We live in a fallen world, but when that fallen world is the private world at home with no relief, kids do look for coping mechanisms. Like attracts like, so the dealers are dealing for a reason, kids are buying for a reason.

Maybe it’s a simple as the kid has too much time while both parents work full time jobs to afford the basics of a mortgage, household bills, debt, cars and car insurance etcetera. Teenagers are not logical. They’re impulsive. Kids do what they feel they need to do to feel alive, wanted and nurtured. I’m not saying parents should not work. I’m simply saying when teens are left to their own rules, they may cut their leash. Even I have a loved one who took the wrong route while my husband and I worked. It was an addiction nightmare, but she did recover. When we talked about it, she said she was trying to become popular in high school. Her focus went from me to her peers—and it happened so fast I didn’t see the blur whiz by. It just takes one try with some drugs when within the family DNA is an addict.

So what if a kid who became addicted had someone who knew the signs and were willing to help? Would he or she talk about why they need to get high to escape? They would if they felt comfortable. There is a myriad of reasons why being high is easier than being in the pit of anguish. Every kid has a story. Every story has been hushed up or spoken. For those who are being reticent and edgy, they’re likely being told what goes on in the home stays in the home.

Why do teens get addicted to hard drugs?

Let the addict talk.

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Human Behaviour, Human Nature, Humanity, Spiritual

A Micro Second Death Face

I remember the headlights and the shiny bumper on the white SUV. I was swerving and my husband was yelling at me, “You’re going to roll the car!”

The only thing separating vehicles from other vehicles on the road is about five feet of air and an imaginary do not cross barrier. What are drivers on these days? How many believe they’re experienced drivers who are immune to the effects of alcohol or hard drugs, or marijuana for the argument? Or was he texting?

My car didn’t roll, but I felt the unsteady jerking beneath me. I had swerved to the right towards the soft, gravel shoulder, and the SUV driver swerved to the left, missing my little Hyundai Accent by mere inches, tucking himself back in. He couldn’t see us when he thought he could pass? There was no warning. He drove out directly in front me.

That’s all I remember. My husband yelling, near tipping of my car, and the white SUV’s headlights and shiny bumper.

My life is forever changed.

Everything I have worked for, everyone I have loved or not loved, every sticky note I’ve written to remind myself of something wouldn’t matter beyond the micro second that it takes to die, then leave my body, and watch the vehicles embrace, in a crunching tangle from my soul floating 20 feet above. I’d look for my husband as he was extracted. He’d be limp and bent unnaturally. I’d try to see myself behind the battered face I used to recognize. The emergency team would pull my squashed body out. I’d see my husband looking, too. We’d then see each other hovering above the chaos, and we’d remember the discussions we so often had about dying together as neither of us could bear the emptiness if we were left behind. Also, there he would be, the drunk driver being extracted from his white SUV. He’d be bloodied and crying, repeatedly saying he’s so sorry. He’d be banged up, but he’d see his loved ones again. He’d finish projects, he’ll drink again.

He’ll forget about the people he killed when he drinks himself to sleep, but the dead will be there every time he wakes.

Nothing would matter anymore. Not my novel which was accepted by a trustworthy publisher, not the closet I meant to clean out, not the computer I am writing this on— nothing. Not a thing would matter. Our lives would matter to all who had to receive the dreaded news, though. Our grown kids, our friends. Our bosses. Our innocent cats who always wait to hear the door open would be surprised as family came in to do what had to be done. Maybe our cats would pine to death in a shelter, separated from us and each other.

None of this death aftermath happened, though, but my life has changed nonetheless.

Thank God we are alive. No one can tell me God didn’t have the last say at that near head on collision. Why am I here? I’m going to find out. We all should find out why we’re here. A micro second wipe out could be anyone’s ultimate fate, but when?

Live before you leave. Really, really live. God Bless.

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Human Behaviour, Human Nature

Time Has No Wings

The tick of the clock can be a hollow sound. The hollow sound is the waiting, waiting, waiting, like the echo of hard soles of shoes in a dark ally.

There are no wings on time. It doesn’t fly, it passes slowly. The sluggish tick, tick, tick on the hourly tocks about waiting. Time holds us prisoner, it keeps us still in the moments of pause.

When time is not sluggish, it’s pushy. Do this, do that, do it all in a short day, but still, time has no wings. If it did, time traffic would collide.

Swift or dawdling, time has its own agenda. Waste it and we’re sorry we missed it. Use it and we look back on what we did. Spend time on what matters the most if you can.

Notice Time. That’s all it wants.

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Human Behaviour, Human Nature

Waiting Wilts or Strengthens

In a year, time waits for no one; birthdays and holidays seems to repeat themselves frequency.

How is then when we wait weeks, perhaps months for something personally important to us, time moves like a dangling drip from a faucet? It drops eventually, but like a pot put on to boil, it is best not to watch.

Patience is a virtue. A virtue is integrity. Integrity is good character, and this means patience is a good and moral act. It’s a hard act, though. Nothing easy produces great results, slow and steady wins the race. Still hard.

People don’t like to wait. Is it a societal thing? With today’s technology, we wait micro seconds for most things. There’s not even enough time to chew a bite of an apple waiting for something to react to our command on a computer. In nature, that apple took from spring till autumn to ripen.

I’m going though a season of waiting. “Good things take time,” they say. The thing about waiting is the worry often accompanies a long wait. What’s the hold up? Is it supposed to take this long? Has it been cancelled? Have I been forgotten?

Waiting wilts or strengthens we humans. If we worry, we wilt. If we imagine how long it takes an apple to ripen, perhaps we’ll be put things into perspective. Once we get through the waiting, we’re strengthened by having patience with a reward: the thing, the product, the reply. We must wait, the prize will present. After all, nothing happens faster when we worry about the wait; except one thing: wilting.

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Humanity

World Disasters

The most frightening thing in the world is losing our world. Everything we worked to have, everything we love, and people we love, even out pets.

I feel deeply for those affected by fires, floods and earthquakes.

My prayers are with the scared, the injured, and those left to carry on without loved ones and beloved pets.

If you’re reading this, you’re safe. Thank God.

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