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.

Are You Wanted?

Who generally loves a person more than anyone else? Mom, of course.

Who wants you more than anyone else?That’s probably Mom too.

There’s a big difference in loving someone and wanting someone. Wanting doesn’t get mentioned very much, but plays a vital role in a person’s well-being.  They want you.  Want.  No matter what, your mom, if she’s worth a shit, wants you around.  She wants to hear about your day.  She wants to spend as much time with you as possible.  She wants you to talk to her about anything your heart desires, and she cares about it, it’s important to her.  No matter how much you ramble, or complain, or how silly, she is all ears, and you know it.  She wants to see all the paintings you made in third grade.  You don’t even have to think or wonder about whether or not you can talk to her about it.  You can.  She will listen.  You already know that.  Everything you do is important to your mother.

Is it college summer break, and you’re crashing at your mom’s house, and all your shit is piled high everywhere?  You know it’s on her nerves, but you’re not too worried about it because she’s your mom and you know she loves you and wants you no matter what.

Is it your 13th birthday and your mom is planning a stupid, crazy, nice party for you and your friends, despite the fact that you’re kind of a brat and don’t appreciate all of her efforts?  Moms do that.  You feel all secure inside and don’t worry about it.

Are you going out of zone to school and live 20 minutes away?  Does Mom get up every morning and drive you to school, and does it again every afternoon, even though it’s out of her way and she has to leave work, and it’s a big pain in her ass?  Sure, she does!  “So what?” the teenager asks.  Well, it’s her mom!

All those things are just a drop in the bucket of what a mother does for her child, and it’s not because she has to, it’s because she wants to.  So, what happens when that mother suddenly disappears?

Will the child find someone to talk to?  Maybe.  But, she feels like she’s bothering them.  They’re really just doing her a favor by listening, she feels.  She’ll probably talk less and less over time.  “I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.”  she says.

Will she find somewhere to crash?  Probably.  But, she feels really guilty and in the way.  She apologizes constantly, and feels like they resent her intrusion.  She moves her things so that they’ll take up as little room as humanly possible.  She rushes to leave.

Will she have her birthday party?  Possibly, but she protests every expense, hastily subtracts all the bells and whistles, and feels terribly uneasy that other people are going out of their way for her.  She does everything she can to not be a bother.  She becomes a people-pleaser.

What this person doesn’t have anymore is the security of knowing that someone wants them.  They know they’re loved, but loving and wanting are two different things.  To know that their is no one person that really wants you like your mother did, and to feel like you are a burden to people is a devastating blow to a child’s self-esteem, and it can last their entire lifetime.

Is it any surprise that when someone comes along, that seems to genuinely want to be with our girl, she clings to them like they’re her lifeboat in the sea.   It shouldn’t be a surprise.

A mother who has died, or is emotionally unavailable for whatever reason to her child, is not only depriving the child of being loved, but of being wanted.  The people that are left behind have got to realize this fact and do whatever it takes for as long as it takes, to help that child feel that they are not a burden, they are a blessing.

(This does not just apply to girls, of course.)

She’s Back!!!

This is a follow up to my post, “I Can’t Believe She Said That To Me!”

The client that told me that “Bipolar disorder is God’s punishment for the sins of Man,” showed up at the shop the other day, just like I knew she would!

To recap, she told me she was worried about her four year old son, who has autism, and the stigma that comes with it.  I sympathized with her fears, and confided that I had bipolar disorder, so I was familiar with stigmas.  Her reaction to my comment was, “OH…bipolar!”  Her eyes got wide, both brows lifted high, her head shook back and forth slightly.  Then she dropped the “sins of Man” bomb.  I was speechless.

When it was time for her next appointment, she called every day for two weeks.  She left message after message on our shop voicemail.  I kept hoping that she would get the hint, or at least get mad because I didn’t call her back, and give up.  I had no desire to talk to her, and I knew it would be difficult to have a conversation over the phone.  I’m not good at that.  I dealt with it by not dealing.

One afternoon, I was shampooing a client’s hair in the back of the salon, and I look up, and there she is, coming through the door.  She heads towards me, and with a cock of her curly head, she fusses, “I have been calling for two weeks, and no one has called me back.”  Then, hands go on hips,” I need to make an appointment to get a cut a highlight.”  Now she smiles sweetly.

I motion for her to follow me into the break room and sit down.  We sit across from each other in the small room.  I told her that we had a conversation at her last visit, and she made a comment that upset me very much.  I said, “I don’t even know if you know what I’m talking about.  Do you know?” 

She was sitting with her back straight up, like the good little Christian that she was.  Her big, protruding eyes widened, she nodded slightly, and she said, “I do!’

I was surprised at her answer, which was followed by silence.  I continued,”Well, what you said about mental illness was extremely offensive to me, and I have decided that I don’t want to work with you anymore.”  I choked up halfway through that sentence.  I got very emotional, but kept it together.

She proceeded to apologize for offending me, saying I took what she said the wrong way.  She tried to defend herself, “I feel sorry for you people….”

I say, “…..” , because what she said afterwards I didn’t hear.  All I heard was “you people”.  My chest got hot, my bruised heart seemed to suddenly turn to stone.  I interrupted her, pointed my finger at her, and said, “Let me plant a little seed for you, Brittany.  Your son has autism…he has a mental illness.  Autism is a mental illness!”

Again, her eyes got big, and she said, “I know!”  Then she rattled on about how she didn’t believe God picked on certain people to punish.  I reminded her that that’s exactly what she said that day!  That God was punishing certain people with the burden of mental illness!

The more I heard her talk, the more I was convinced that she was a confused and ignorant, young woman.  I told her I appreciated her apology, but yes, she would have to find someone else to do her hair.  I rose to escort her out.

I was too busy after she left to think about our conversation.  However, that evening I cried a river.  I was so mad at myself for letting this stupid person upset me to such a degree.  Even the next day I had to struggle to keep my tears in check when I thought about it.

I never talk about having bipolar to anyone but my closest friends and family.  One of the reasons why is because of the stigma.  The one time I chose to do it, to put it out there and be vulnerable, I felt humiliated, hurt, and even betrayed.  I thought we had somewhat of a common struggle, so I revealed a piece of my private self to her, even though I didn’t know her very well.  It had barely left my lips when she brought God and his wrath into the picture.  That was a new one!  I never heard of anyone believing such a thing!  I was horrified!  Not MY God!  What?!  What is she talking about?

Hopefully, the next time someone says something so mean, and utterly stupid to me, I will be more prepared.  I don’t think I should hide my disorder like some dirty secret.  I admire those brave advocates that march for our cause, to stop the stigma, and raise awareness of mental illness.  I wonder how they got to be so brave?  I feel like Chicken Little hiding in the corner with my thumb in my beak!

Do We Give It ALL to God?

How do you know how much of a situation to handle yourself, and how much to give to God?  Where is the line between the two?

My friend who is extremely sick is expressing a little frustration at those of us who have questions for the doctor and are researching her illness.  She said that she has faith that God will heal her, and she doesn’t want to talk about the complicated particulars of her disease.

praying hands

I’ve spent a lot of time and tears in prayer for her.  I believe God is in charge and I pray that she is healed!   Does that mean I don’t really need to worry about the details?  God is in charge, so I can sit down and relax?

I believe that there are times when there are miscommunications between doctors and patients.  I also know that mistakes can be made on every level, and we must all make sure nothing falls through the cracks.  I believe that knowledge is crucial, and the more information you have, the better.  Also, when you understand a situation, you are equipped to make wiser decisions.

I am conflicted about how to go forward.  I am extremely involved with her and the family.  I have been a part of their journey since the beginning, and have had a role in helping with the “behind the scenes” things, like bill and finance management, doctor visits, and figuring out what the hell is going on!  Doctors can be extremely vague and not very forthcoming.  Is that okay because we’ve given it all to God?


I will of course, keep praying.  I believe God knows my heart, and He knows I believe in Him, and He hears my prayers.  My friend had a revelation from God the other day when she was in the hospital.  That’s when she said she knew she would be alright.

Maybe I should stop and listen for God to tell me what to do.  He usually does, I just have to be still, and quiet.  Why do I keep forgetting to do this?  Ok, I have to go and be still and quiet.  Bye!

Do You Have Obsessive Thoughts?

A topic I don’t run across very often in the bipolar universe is our tendency to have “obsessive thoughts.”  Maybe it’s because it’s often a minor blip on the hilly, winding road of bipolar symptoms.  It can sometimes serve a person well.  They can focus on important tasks and problems.  But, I know first-hand that it can serve as a false director to mania’s feverish race to self-destruction.  Nepal-curvy-road-Vagabond-Way

I wonder if you have to be in a manic state to have obsessive thoughts?  It seems I can obsess about anything that my brain deems important enough to obsess about.  These obsessions thankfully are for the most part harmless, except for the huge waste of time and irritation to others.

I spent every free moment for two weeks on Ancestry.com trying to find my biological grandfather.  They offer a 14-day free trial, and I was determined to get every shred of information I could find before the end of the 13th day.  I succeeded not only in finding him, but am now friendly with three relatives that I contacted, just so I could ask questions about my secretive family.  I had two days left of my free subscription and I was done with it.  grandfather-597x600

One time I came across a hair product line that was designed only for people with curly hair.  It was a whole concept salon, with not only products, but classes and education.  The majority of the clients were women of color, but not all.  I am not a woman of color, but I do have curly hair.  I spent every waking moment for about a week pouring over their websites and literature, reviews and product samples.  I dissected my calendar and bank account, trying to figure out how I was going to get to New York City to take classes so my salon could be certified.  I researched the ways that I could get the word out to the masses that I specialized in curly hair.  I was going to be an expert, and carry all of the products for people of all races and color, and maybe I could find an African-American stylist who would work with me, and we could have the first multi-cultural salon in our town, which would be awesome, because race relations are terrible, and wouldn’t that be amazing, and we could all make new friends and learn from each other, and…  curly hair

That lasted about a week.  I changed my mind about it in an instant.  Thankfully, I hadn’t committed thousands of dollars to products, travel, and education.

My latest obsessions have mostly been related to my friend with cancer.  I haven’t felt that I’ve been unreasonable in my research pursuits, until the last couple of days, when I have felt the hint of impatience and irritation from my husband.  I have been the giver of information to my friend and her family.  I have spent hours upon hours setting up donation funds online, finding specialists that make house calls, combing through pictures for social media updates, and now researching the cause of her sickness and how to obtain much needed financial aid.

good person

My sick friend sent me a message one day thanking me for all of my help.  She said she didn’t realize how giving and selfless I was, she was extremely grateful.  It occurred to me, sadly, that I’m not selfless and giving!  I have bipolar disorder and I obsess.  It’s true that this is a worthy cause that I care deeply about, and not some hair product or DNA mystery.  But, I’m obsessing.  It’s what I do.   good-theresa_2637100b

But, I do feel that when it’s a good cause, my obsessive nature can serve a good purpose, and I can be beneficial.  I cannot help being this way.  If I am not able to actively work on the object of my obsession, my mind is consumed with the pressure of it, and can only find relief if I complete the task I’ve chosen to be supremely and urgently important.

It makes me tired being this way!  I have to remember to try and pick up my head every now and then, to look around to make sure I’m being reasonable.  However, when you are in the middle of an obsession, you are too focused to think of such things.  When finally, I am released from its’ spell, I discover that once again, my obsessions are without merit.  When reflected upon, I find that again, I have expelled energy and emotion on ideas that seem stupid and pointlekidtvss.

My only consolation is that hopefully, my obsessing can be beneficial at times.  Hopefully I can make a difference in a positive way, and that makes me feel better about all the wasted thinking, time, and effort I’ve spent trapped, spinning around in my own head.

I just read this article that relates to this: