So I’ve decided to take the plunge and go for the ECT. newsflash…no driving,no working . So, I’m about two weeks in and my coworkers wants to know, “What do you want me to tell people? They keep asking!”

Hemorrhoids. Tell them I have I bad hemorrhoid and that’s why it’s so hush hush.

Is it incredibly insane that I have to use an absolutely embarrassing condition instead of my real condition, which I consider more embarrassing.

I need to go back to my last post and reread it, because I don’t feel very brave today.

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How Do You Keep It Private?

I Am Brave

  1. When I was a little kid, we lived on a small farm.  Barn, pasture, cornstalks, pond, the whole thing.  My dad would take my brother and I to the pond so we could fish.  The biggest thing I took from those trips was my dad teaching me how to bait my hook with those gross, squiggly, slimy worms.  You see, my dad didn’t want me to be one of those squeamish, little princess girls who wouldn’t get dirty, or got grossed out at every little thing, and said, “EW”! a lot.  He literally made me bait that hook!  You know, now, being able to bait a hook with a worm is a source of pride for me, and I’ll always be grateful to him for pushing me to be brave, even if I didn’t like it.  It wouldn’t hurt me, so just do it!
  1. When the time came for me to begin my ECT treatments, I literally thought of as many brave things I had done, and I made a list in my head.  I figured that if I did all of those things, then, surely, I could do this.  So, here goes, in no certain order:
  1. Birthed one child vaginally (episiotomy rip) and one c-section
  2. Have had two breast augmentations (had to replace old ones)
  3. Have been put to sleep and had four wisdom teeth cut out of my head, Countless root canals
  4. I stood next to my brother and watched our parents be lowered into their grave in our teens
  5. I am a sexual assault survivor
  6. I flew to NYC, by myself, to meet and stay with a woman I’d never met who knew my mother in college
  7. My brother and I tracked our mother’s birth family in Ohio and not only found them, but confronted them, questioning our mother’s birth circumstances.
  8. There’s a deep 600+ foot sinkhole in the Bahamas that I was terrified to swim across, but I did.
  9. I have flown in those tiny, “puddlejumper” planes that everyone I know says they would never be caught dead on one. I loved it!
  10. I took my son on a group tour to the British Isles, and I climbed Arthur’s Seat, which is a 800+ foot high dormant volcano! I almost died doing it, but I did it!
  11. I chased a sting ray so I could get the best picture on my GoPro!
  12. I helped take care of my terminally ill best friend as she died from cancer.
  13. I opened my own business.
  14. For my oldest son’s Spring Break, I put everything on a credit card and took him to New York City so he’d see something of the world out there.  Best trip and he’ll never forget it.
  15. My dad also made me ride the Mindbender roller coaster at Six Flags.
  16. I can water ski, almost killed myself jet skiing, I love to snorkel, and hope to get certified to scuba dive within the next year.
  17. I have suffered PTSD and went to EMDR therapy for numerous group sessions to help my symptoms.  One of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But totally worth it, by the way.
  18. I have suffered emotional and verbal abuse by the very people who were supposed to protect me.
  19. I work a very demanding physical and mental job, and I’ve kept it up for twenty years.

That’s all I can think of right now.  It sure does make that little electric current going through my brain seem a lot less scary.  When I swam across that creepy deep sink hole, I imagined my father encouraging me on, “Do it, Tracey, you can do it!  You’re just afraid! Nothing is going to hurt you!  Go Girl! Go!”  And he’s so proud, and I’m so proud, because I did it, even though I was so scared!  I got on the other side of it!

Just like this ECT.  I’m going to be afraid, but I’m going to keep going, and remind myself how brave I am, and how much I’ve overcome.  I will overcome this too.

I’m doing ECT. WHAT?!

Yep. Had my third treatment yesterday. Have to do six weeks three times a week.

It doesn’t hurt. I wasn’t afraid. I still have most of memories, I think. “Just wait”, the nursing staff sung in unison, when I mentioned it.

Not working. Have had three episodes. Just downs. No energy. Just want to lay around.

Fourth treatment is tomorrow. My bro is taking me. They won’t let you drive. So I’m on a “medical leave of absence”. What the hell else do you say? “Sorry I have to cancel on you, but today. I’m going to be electrocuted at 1:00. I won’t be back for your 2:00…sorry.”

My story is “female” issues. This makes people extremely uncomfortable. Especially the guys. All u have to do is make a scary face and wave your hand in a circle from your belly to your vagina. They have checked out, no questions for you.

Women. Women are different. You’ve got the polite, too much class, raised by BAptist parents, much too worried about social niceties than satisfy her small curiosity about silly ol medical thing.

I think most people with think I’m having a hysterectomy. That makes the most sense. I could be having a facelift. And liposuction. That’s believable.

I just have to keep my eyes on the prize and who cares if anyone knows? Why do I even care?

So, Let’s Talk About It!

 

What in the hell is happening? People are killing themselves left and right, but nobody sees! Nobody looks! Let’s talk about stigma, let’s talk about mental health…well fucking talk about it!!!!

I am trying to get into an ECT program. That is my next attempt at some version of normalcy. What I’ve read is very positive, and at this point I’ll do practically anything. Fry my brain! Bring. It. On.

I’m coming out of a two day pit of shit where I’ve had to call in “sick” to work. This evening I am now so angry. I am going to lose my clientele bc I don’t give a fuck about them or their goddamn hair. I am currently considering telling three clients to go to hell for various small acts of disrespect towards me. The problem is, I’m such a damn basket case when I talk to them, I can’t even speak because I can’t control the tears and choking words that I cannot get out of my damn mouth, which only makes me look like a basket case, which, I guess, I am.

There was a time, when I had to deal with a particularly rude, ridiculous client, that had worn out her welcome years before I had had enough. I called her, and calmly but firmly stated my case, proved my point, and asked her to find somewhere else to go. I felt good about it, I was strong, I articulated my words, and I was calm. Above all, I didn’t cry.

I like to think that THAT is me. The REAL me. I want her back. Surely, this is not what God’s plan is for me. I keep telling myself, “It could be worse, it could be worse…”

Electroconvulsive Therapy? Should I?

I’ve spent the last year rapid cycling.  The cycle lasts about seven to nine days.  My doctor has been changing my meds to see if we could stop them.

I am looking into ECT, or Electroconvulsive Therapy.  Also known as “shock therapy”.

Does anyone have any experiences they can share about this therapy?

“Dear, we’re having crow again for dinner!”

A middle aged lady with long, blonde hair sat in my styling chair.  She talked quietly, her instructions simple. 

What small talk we did have, however, consisted of the usual questions.  One being, “Do you work outside the home?”  She looked down at her lap, and shifted uncomfortably in the chair.  “I’m on disability.  I stay home.”

I half ass attempted to veil my suspicion, “Oh, are you sick?  Were you hurt?”  I am concerned, but skeptical.  She could be one of those.

She tells me she has bipolar disorder.  Bipolar?  I have that!  Disability?  I’d never heard of somebody being on disability for having bipolar!

“I’m sorry to ask, but I have bipolar too, and what is it that keeps you from working?”

HOW FUCKING RUDE WAS I?????? Omg.  I was such a BITCH

She said, “It’s really hard for me to be around people.”

“Oh, okay, I understand that,” and I smile and finish her haircut.  Thinking the whole time, “Whatthefuckever! Disability bc you can’t be around people?  I fucking wish!”  I had her pegged for a piece of crap that abused the system.

Sooooo…..ten years or so later, um.….what’s the deal with disability and bipolar disorder?  My life has taken some turns, and my disorder is making me and my 25 year old occupation not very happy.  Plus, I was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy last year.

I very much regret judging that woman.  It might be me now, I don’t know.  But, yeah, I’m looking into it.  Disability for bipolar disorder.  I don’t care anymore if I might be a piece of crap.  

Magnets for BIPOLAR?

I was in a desperate state Monday when I went to see my psychiatrist.  I’ve been on so many rapid mood cycles in a row, I can’t even count how many I’ve had.  No doubt these have been triggered by the death of my dear friend in January.

I feel hopeless.  Is this the rest of my life?  This is it?  Tough shit, take your meds and cross your fingers?  “I like you a lot,” I told my therapist, “but I’m tired of coming here to see you for the last 15 years!”  She looked through my file, thumbed through the many pages of notes.  “Huh,” she said, ” we’ve been dealing with this for a pretty good while.”  I just looked at her.  “Looks like 2016 was a good year, though!” she said.  If I didn’t feel like driving my car into a lake that day, I might’ve laughed.  But, it wasn’t funny.  I don’t think she was trying to be funny, but I don’t think anything she said would’ve given me hope.  I’ve been here before.  This is just my life.

She said, “Tracey, you know what it’s like to grow up without parents. You know what that would be like for your boys.”  I know.  I’m just tired.

Then she asked me if I’d ever heard of TMS.  Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.  No, I haven’t.  She explained to me that for six weeks or so, five days a week, you went to a clinic where they put something that delivers a electric current to your brain by a magnetic field.  I later looked up the technical stuff so it would make sense.  She told me that is has been very successful and there’s been a ton of positive results.  “SIGN ME UP!” I said.  The six weeks, five times a day thing will take some figuring out, especially since the closest one to my house is 45 minutes away.  I work too.  But, whatever…I’ll figure it out.

Yesterday I talked to the scheduling person at the clinic we chose.  She said, “I saw on your email that you have bipolar disorder, and TMS isn’t approved yet by the FDA for bipolar, just depression.  That means that it isn’t covered by insurance, and your out of pocket costs will be at least $12,000.  Ok, thanks, bye.

Are the chances of TMS worth me finding that kind of money?  Financing?  Sell a kidney? I don’t know! If I knew it would help me, then, hell yeah it’d be worth it!  I’ll have to do some research.  But it is a tiny bit of hope.  $12K hope, but I’d sell my soul to not feel this way anymore.

Can Someone Please Shut the Ride Down? I Want to Get Off Now.

My hands look like claws. My middle fingers fold downward to pick the top layers of what’s left of both of my thumbnails. I can’t stop doing it. They are moving on their own, like a separate part of my body exists and functions without me.
A gaping hole lives in my chest. Pain lives there, and blackness. Blackness is not a color. It is a feeling that only people who have known blackness can recognize.
In my mind, a flash of a thought to hurt, to maim, to damage. To scream. To sleep.
Rapid cycling is a part of my life again. It’s been about seven to ten days for each cycle, then it will start back over again. I am scared that this is going to kill me.

No one knows how I sit home alone, wanting to slice my skin and take the kitchen scissors to big hunks of my hair. I want to throw this fucking computer against the wall as well as everything else that isn’t tied down. I want to drink what’s left of the bottle of wine in the fridge, plus take some sleeping pills and knock myself out. Oh, wait, I have to be at work at 8:30 in the morning. Oh yeah, I have to do life and pretend I don’t live like this.

 

“Anybody want this kid?  How ’bout dis one?”

My mom was adopted. She never found out who her real parents were before she died at 43.  So my brother and I did.
Biological Grandma was dead but we met several of her brothers and sisters.  They were all either old or dead already.

On mom’s birth certificate, the line for the father’s name was blank.  I questioned the aunt and she claimed ignorance, with a shoo of her hand.  She mentioned that it could’ve possibly been an army man coming through town, she wasn’t sure.
Aunt told me that bio-grandma ended up marrying an Italian guy.  Had “izzo” at the end of his name.  Said they adopted a seven year old boy from Italy.  None of them have a good relationship with him now.  They don’t know where he lives.


So Grandma gives her baby up for adoption, and then adopts another kid.

I took a DNA test from Ancestry.com.  That test led me to discover the name of my biological grandfather.  MY MOM’s DAD.  The name on that line.  I am positive that this is the man that knocked up my mom’s mom.  I canNOT believe it, AND I’m totally convinced I’m a genius.

I was satisfied with my discovery, so my interest in the subject was put to rest for awhile.  Fast forward a year or so.

It was a couple of weeks ago.  My son and I are going on a tour of the British Isles in June.  I thought it would be cool to see if any of the places in Ireland and Scotland are going to on our trip, have any connections to our ancestors.  So, I renewed my ancestry.com subscription and I’m obsessed and living in my computer again.  I was enjoying myself so much, I decided to make an ancestry photo book for my brother.  
I finished that, but I’m not ready to put it down, so I decide to make a a genealogy book dedicated to my mom.  I could fill in her missing father’s, grandmothers, and aunts and cousins that she never had a chance to search for herself. 

I pull up mom’s bio-dad on ancestry.com. I knew a little about HIM, but nothing about his life, or his family.  I start clicking on birth certificates, death certificates, and census records.  I found his name on every one.  Checked all the info, where he was, how old, blah, blah.  I made notes of his parents names, where the were born, the age at the time the census was taken.  Census records were taken every ten years.

I got to the third census record.  He was seven years old, it said.  I saw his mother’s name, then father’s….finally found his name.  I scrolled my eyeballs carefully to the right, so I wouldn’t lose the line I was on.

There was a category in the census for your status in your house, or who you were.  You fill in whether you’re, “Head” of household, or “Wife,” or maybe, “boarder” or “servant“, “mother-in-law.”  Of course “Child” or “grandmother.”  Back in the early days there’d be fifteen people in one household taking up the half of the page.

When I looked at the household status line where my biological grandfather’s status was, it said in black cursive handwriting , “Child. / Adopted.

This Isn’t Rocket Science, People!!!

Guns guns guns fuck yeah they’re a problem. Of course they are! And just because we need to change our gun laws doesn’t mean anyone wants to take away your fucking gun!

Mental illness is also the problem! Nobody wants to get down in the mud and talk about that, though! People with depression and other mental illnesses like bipolar disorder have to keep it to themselves, like a dirty secret. All the while, unknowing ignoramuses gossip about “those crazy people” and we take our shame back even further into the dark shadows.

What about abused people? What about the neglected or abused child who grows up traumatized and develops PTSD and has anger issues, or gets into drugs? It is happening! Everyday.

There are reasons these people are looking for guns to solve their problems! It’s not just one issue, it’s so many!

How do we put mental illness on the table and recognize it for what it is and who it affects? Maybe if we acted like it wasn’t the plague, more people would seek help before they hurt themselves or someone else!

I just read online how people are wanting to take their children out of schools and home school them. Is that really the answer? How about when they go to a concert, or a movie? What then?

Doesn’t it just make sense? Good old common horse sense? I don’t understand why nothing is changing.

Maybe because, admittedly, I haven’t changed. I’m quite the hypocrite. My excuse is that I want to wait until next year after my youngest son graduates from high school to be open about living with bipolar II. I’m afraid of what he might have to deal with if people knew his mom had a mental illness. I don’t want to put that on him. I don’t want to put it on me either, though. But, every time a shooting happens, guilt wells up in my chest. I feel like a coward. Doesn’t it start with people just like me?

I know what it’s like when people want to downplay your illness, or just plain ignore it altogether. I can tell people close to me get uncomfortable when I mention something about it. They do not want to talk about it. I really can’t say why, exactly. Oh, but they do not want to go there. Is it that bad? I feel that it must be, because no one will talk to me about it.

I have to stay silent at my job when clients refer to crazy people just like me. I’m an imposter. I’m that crazy person in a normal persons’ disguise…they don’t know, they just keep talking as I stay silent.

Its hard! It’s like putting on Facebook in bold letters that you have a horrible case of herpes…but don’t be afraid! You won’t catch it! I won’t hurt your children!

This is stupid!!!!

So, this is the dilemma I struggle with. Yes, I know what I need to do. While I work on that, maybe some of those fuckers can tighten up this ridiculous gun situation.