Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Another pet peeve of mine is people calling the actions of a mentally ill person "selfish." Do I do selfish things? Sure do! I'm human, we all do. I also pout, sulk, and tap my foot at my fiance when I'm determined to get my way. Few people can hold a candle to my whining. Really, it's oscar-worthy when I want new shoes. I can also con my way out of putting away laundry like none-other.
Do I seek attention? Another" yep." I'm not even going to lie. I dress my children like princesses to show how I am THE BEST MOM EVER, I am vocal in discussion groups in school, I love throwing in my two cents at work, and I am a total comedian. I'm also loud as hell, though not entirely intentional...I'm Puerto Rican and Italian, I come by it honestly.

Things I DON'T do for attention:
*self injure
*eat pills/suicide attempts
*starve myself
*refuse treatment
*have intense anxiety about "nothing"

If I were epileptic, would I have seizures for attention? Of course not, and it would be stupid to even suggest it. However, bipolar disorder seems to be viewed as a cunning career move or something that I decided to do because I was bored one day, so every action raises an eyebrow.

Although I will agree that cutting is usually a lame way for bored teenagers to get attention, as is evident by the pathetic and highly visible barely-scratched they decorate themselves with before adorning their tank top (you're doing it wrong), in my case it's a symptom of psychosis/intense freaking out. I'll give you an example: I was in high school when I started getting really symptomatic, but before I went all out looneytunes. I would get into these intense ranges that typically resulted in property damage and an hour of screaming nonsense until I eventually worse myself out and passed out. Because I would be beaten by my parents for destroying things, I moved on to hacking at myself. In one fit of range I went into my bathroom, removed a razor blade from my secret hiding spot, and because hacking and stabbing at my thigh. Blood went everywhere. Ya know what? Seeing the blood snapped me out of it. I cleaned myself up, and moved on with my day. This was my "dirty secret" for a few years. It was never a ploy for attention as I kept my cuts/scars very well hidden, and in my mental state hurting myself was much better than throwing furniture or punching someone (I get physically ill at the thought of inflicting injury on another person or animal, or damaging something that isn't my own. Starving myself has become another for of self-injury that I've moved onto, because ironically it is more "socially acceptable". Hair-pulling is also self-injurious, but I tend to do it during extreme panic - I don't want attention, I actually don't realize I'm doing it.

I've seen great anger directed at the mentally ill for refusing treatment, and I have experienced this myself. I am currently going round-and-round with my fiance about getting into talk therapy for my anxiety. The problem? Talking about what I'm nervous about actually makes me a million times more afraid. Why would I pay money to be terrorized? My anxiety also makes it hard for me to leave the house, so I end up freaking out and cancelling appointments or not going. It's not that I don't WANT treatment, but why would I continue in a treatment I've done on and off for years with horrid results? In my previous post I've mentioned going off my meds, which is another topic that people feel they have the right to comment about - when YOU pass out all over the floor and cannot remember your name, then I'll listen to how wonderful my treatments are going.

Suicide is a major one for me, as I have had very evil comments directed at me for being a suicidal parent. I've grown tired of the chorus of "Won't somebody thing of the children!!?!?" - when really, I wasn't thinking of *anything* other than 500 ways to die. To avoid rehashing the entire sad tale of Sandi and to keep my blog present, I'll just rehash my most recent suicide attempt for you to draw your own conclusions. A few months after my total hysterectomy, my fiance and I were horsing around, enjoying a child-free weekend. Unfortunately we are both clumsy ass mofos, and I ended up being dropped on my head. This resulted in a broken neck that was diagnoses as a sprained arm...yeah. After weeks of extreme pain, I ended up in the hospital with a blue arm. My medication regiment was totally shot to hell, and to be honest MY ARM WAS BLUE, so I really wasn't on top of correcting it as I had more pressing issues. A few days before my release I started getting frantic, upset, and I was on the verge of a mental health crisis. Knowing this, I begged to see someone in psych. The "medical professionals" were helpful enough to dope me full of xanax on top of my dilaudid so I simply became a zombie. I stayed drooling on myself for a few days, then they released me. My first night home I went absolutely berserk, attacked my fiance while screaming about zombies, and ate a bottle of pills. To make a long story short, I was convinced I had been sold to the government to be raped and then fed to zombies....and I was kinda...pissed off about it.

Does this sound "selfish", or does this sound TOTALLY BATSHIT INSANE? People get sick and die all the time, yet when I almost die from a bipolar episode, it's because I don't love my children enough.

Also, did you notice that I asked for treatment and got...nothing? This is extremely common in mental health. Everyone waits until a problem explodes. The mental health system is a complete joke.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Most annoying comments ever, #1

One of the things I hear as a bipolar person that seriously makes me scratch my head is "mentally ill people stop taking their medicine because they feel better!"

....huh? Seriously folks, if any of this nonsense actually made me feel so good I decided I was cured, I'd be trying to mainline the stuff. It just doesn't work that way. Am I saying that nobody ever does this? Of course not. People do dumb shit all the time..but what I'm saying is that if it sounds ridiculous, as this does, it probably *is*.

Since I began treatment in approximately 2001 (when my bipolar bomb went off), I've been on more medicines that I can remember. At some point I stopped taking all of them, except for my current dose of Cymbalta, which is a whole other monster in itself. I'll try to start from the beginning:

Zoloft: I don't remember much about the night I decided I had a serious problem, but I remember I had been miserable and suicidal for awhile, and I had an episode where I started crying and couldn't stop. For hours. Hours of crying and overall acting like a ninny later, I drove myself to the ER and asked for help. I was promptly locked up in the wacky shack and pumped full of Zoloft. Three days later I was feeling great! A few days after that I was released from the hospital. A few more weeks and I was standing in my living room, shrieking nonsense, and throwing furniture like a chimp on PCP. Pro tip: if you are bipolar and you take Zoloft, YOU GO COMPLETELY BATSHIT CRAZY. Needless to say, that was the end of the Zoloft. I went back to the hospital for another stay at Hotel California. At no point did I think I was "better", I was just a new form of awful.

Wellburtin/Depakote combo: This worked a little better for me in that I didn't hurl large objects around the house or speak in tongues, but I got to learn a new fun phrase called "orthostatic hypotension." The is a technical term for "Sandi-go-boom." What could be more fun than cracking your head and face randomly on the floor without warning? I know! Trying to make a right turn in your car and ending up on the sidewalk on the wrong side of the street! When it got to the point where I couldn't walk across a room without face-to-the-floor, I called it quits. I have to give my doctor credit though, I was much less depressed while semi unconscious.

Lithium/Risperdal/Seroquel: Ohhhhh, THIS was fun...or something. The lithium made me stupid as a post to the point where I couldn't answer simple questions, I lost my sense of smell and I couldn't feel my hands. The risperdal gave me a wonderful condition known as tardive dyskinesia, which had me drooling, twitching, unable to chew or swallow, and I couldn't focus my eyes. I was also sleeping literally 15 hours or more a day- but again, I guess the logic is "you can't kill yourself in your sleep!" I still wanted to die all the time, I was just too busy twitching and drooling and sleeping to actually get around to it. After begging my doctor for help and getting "meh, you're stable for now", I had had enough. Does this sound "cured"? Not unless you're a moron. Oh, and did I mention I didn't have health insurance at the time, and risperdal and seroquel were each several hundred dollars for a month's supply? How much do you think I was able to work in this condition?

Elavil: I ate the whole bottle and woke up with tubes in my everywhere. This was just complete and total fail.

Neurontin: I forgot how to drive a car. While driving. I made it to the ER and by the time I got to the desk, I couldn't remember my name. Thank God I didn't kill anyone. It was like my entire brain shut off.

My current med, Cymbalta: I've been on and off Cymbalta for I think three years now. Besides for the insane withdrawl if I miss a pill, it's kept me the most "alive" out of all of them. The times I've had to do without it were either financial (it is NOT CHEAP), or when I was having surgery or other medical problems. One of the annoying factors about Cymbalta is that it interacts with EVERYTHING, so I couldn't take pain killers and a lot of other meds I needed while on it. Since I was having a hysterectomy, I said screw the cymbalta for awhile. I'm back on it and although I still have problems, I'm not crying all the time and thinking of ten million ways to die, so it's something. I want to say it has greatly increased my anxiety, though. But I'll take what I can get.

One of the things I wish people would understand is that a lot of us NEVER feel "good", we just feel "less bad." Telling me "Make sure you take you're meds even when you feel good!" is just so insulting and ridiculous.

You mean I'm not cured?!?! REALLY?!?!?! Thank you, random asshole! What would I ever have done without you....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

And so it begins

I have been kicking around the idea of starting a public blog to talk about the challenges and bullshittery that I face on a semi daily basis as a bipolar mother of two young children. If you are reading this, it means I finally did it.

My name is Sandi, obviously. The spelling was not my idea, and my job doesn't involve blacklight or a pole, because that would be the first question. I have two daughters, ages 3 and 4. Yes I've heard of birth control, as that would be the next question. And yes, they have the same dad (typical question #3).

So to start, throw out everything you know about mentally ill mothers. I haven't drowned, beaten, eaten, set fire to, or thrown any of my children into a dumpster (granted it's still early). I want to tell the story of the rest of us: the smart-mouthed, clever moms with a sense of humor that are totally functional and would like to be left alone and not treated like we are a danger to society. I work full time, I go to school full time, I cook and clean and paint nails and make barrettes. I'm way less exciting than people would like you to believe.

So ummm.... hi?