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Full Time Life

Here I am…TIRED.  I am not sure why?  It must be from my bustling social life and my full time work schedule.  It’s amazing I am off Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits from work and as I said on ‘full time’.  I am quite proud of myself considering that I was months ago working 3 days a week for 3 hours a day.  I have been so lucky to have wonderful disability case workers both at Great West Life and at the government.  They never rushed me, never contributed to my stress, and were always encouraging me to do the best that I possibly could.  It took a long time to excel at a back to work schedule and for anyone doing this out there, it is possible to return to work – full time.  I know this! 

The President of the Society, Rachel and I recently showcased the Bipolar Babe project at the McPherson Theatre in Victoria, BC.  There was a concert put on by musicians from Africa and they were AMAZING!  They were there to raise $ for the Saanich Rotary Club who funds several international and domestic causes.  They wanted a grassroots organization and the Bipolar Disorder Society was a perfect fit.  We met several good contacts and a potential Teens2Twenties recruit. 

I have been ‘OK’ emotionally, crying a bit here and there over falsified memories, regrets, and pure loss.  I don’t miss who he is, but who I thought him to be.  It is such a shame.  Still, I never faltered and I never broke.  I managed to take on a new job and survive a horrific break up.  I even transitioned to full time during this difficult time.  The bipolar babe does have mental strength – DO I EVER BABY!       

Here’s a clip I like about work and mental health, check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30PE-En55Sg&feature=related

Remember you are strong and amazing and never let anyone tell you otherwise.  In time you will heal and so shall I! heart

Catherine Zeta-Jones Unknowingly Stirs up Some Stigma Stew

The hype is out and the world is in mental mayhem!

Another Hollywood starlet is diagnosed as having bipolar disorder.  First, Carrie Fisher from my favourite legendary movie saga STAR WARS, then Britney Spears who melted away in front of the Hollywood Paparazzi while having a nervous breakdown…now Catherine Zeta-Jones has come out as having Bipolar II Disorder.

This is all good publicity, right?  Isn't any awareness, good awareness?

No, definitely not.

I have read numerous accounts today that have been sharing their very brief and non-indepth snap shots of what is happening with Zeta-Jones.  Although, there may not appear to be much to report, why not follow up and ask what bipolar disorder really is.  How does it affect the general population?  Who has bipolar disorder and what are we doing about it?

How do we 'stomp out stigma?'  "Stigma?"..they ask… "What is stigma?"

Catherine has been describing her bouts with melancholy, telling The Sunday Times in the U.K. that "I'm lucky. … But that's not to say I don't get down on myself. I try and stay positive, being negative isn't good for my personality. I don't just bring myself down, I bring everyone around me down. It's like a dark cloud, 'Uh oh, here we go', and I have to snap out of it."

I am a little…no, not a little, VERY bewildered, disappointed and worried by Katherine's commentary.  Using phrases such as "being negative isn't good for my personality", "staying positive", and "snapping out of it" raises huge concerns for myself and the bipolar community at large.  Catherine is influential and people will be listening to her and with these words and I think she unknowingly stirred up a large pot of stigma stew for Hollywood and the world at large!  🙂  Why do I say this?  She has not deliberately done anything 'wrong', but people will now probably misconstrue that having bipolar is a personality disorder due to her response.  Katherine also checked into a treatment centre for 5 days and although she bravely did this to ease her mental health, many will conclude that a short stay at a spa is all you need to get back on your feet.

Now 'they' will say "You just need to stop being a negative person, simply pep up, be positive, and 'snap out of it'."

Phew!  My tummy is turning.  So what do you think?  Stigma stew or something else on the menu?

Mother Mother=Stellar

It has been such a roller-coaster these past few days.  I was severely depressed last weekend and had the most unproductive time EVER!  I discovered NETFLIX and it just brought me down as I watched movie after movie.  I tried to BLOG but my mood was too low.  When will my meds stabilize?  I heard a comment the other day when someone was talking about somebody else who has a mental health condition and they said in a condescending manner "That person well you know…forgot to take their meds."  I thought it ironic as that was a common problem for people with a mental health condition.  Stigma is still so apparent, even in the most common statements, which are blind to the view of many. 

I went to a rock concert last night with the band name 'MOTHER MOTHER'.  A couple of them are old pals from Quadra Island  so it was amazing to see them.  I ran up to Molly and gave her a big hug, it was amusing because I don't think she remembered who I was, even when I said 'It's Andrea'.  Ryan was magnificent, his devilish look was stellar and he played with such heart.  The girls had such personality and the drummer was hidden but not forgotten.  I have become a junkie, a big time fan and I read their BLOG religiously now and I hope that they will read mine at times.  The rest of the band was so talented and the guitarist pulled off a clarinet!  I am impressed. Except I felt really sick during the concert and I had one of my 'acidy feelings', it was back and I knew it would happen because it seems to happen in  loud exciting situations.  All of a sudden I was super paranoid and being around people felt seriously wrong and considering I was around one hundred people, this was not an ideal place to be feeling this way.  I felt like I was out of my skin and I was overwhelmed.   

My vision was even affected.  I just told myself that everything was going to be okay and that nobody would know what was going on with me.  It is very difficult to do when you are also having personal conversations with people and you have to act like you are feeling 'normal'. My body threw itself into manic mode last night and I MAYBE got 5 hours sleep.  Now here I am writing this BLOG a mile a minute because I am feeling quite high.  I couldn't sleep all day and I had to miss work.  I am rapid cycling and that feels just like a roller-coaster, hopefully I can get off soon and resume my awesome life.  One last thing, although I have been on medication for years I still have the temptation to go off.  As I peer at the medication bottles, tons of them, I tell myself "It would be so wonderful to not have to depend on drugs".  Then I am reminded how lucky I am, that even with the kinks and set backs, I have drugs that will help me manage.  It is all about management and I pray that I can continue to do so.  Andrea XO