From: Your Dead or Alive Mother


I feel like a human science experiment. I felt that way when I was pregnant…wasn’t hoping to feel that way again. Ever. But in my search for the perfect “cocktail” of meds, I find myself swinging (in moods, not in partners!), and exhausting my mind and body in trying to keep up with my real world responsibilities and not look like a total nut case.

Shit has to get done, and poor Pillars can’t do it all himself. I *could* just sit on the couch and look like a total wreck all day, I have before, but that’s not something I want my children remembering me for. I want them to remember me as a fighter who put them first, no matter how badly I felt. A mommy who had a lot of patience even when going through the worst moods. I fail a lot of times at this, and I always find myself caught up in wondering how they will remember me when they are older, after they find out about my illness.

I KNOW they will look back on their childhood and try to fill in the blanks. I’m always looking through  their eyes at me, viewing what I’m doing, and there are many times when I don’t feel like it’s good enough. I know I should be showing them that no one is perfect, and how to be accepting of yourself and of others, blah blah blah. Shut up, don’t say it, readers!

I really think most of this is caused by the fact that I look back on my childhood at my Dad and try to figure out who he really was and what he felt. I’m projecting that onto my children, and in turn back to me, and I’m just wasting time. I keep telling myself there is a difference. I’m going to be around to show them who I am, and I’m going to be around to tell them how it feels to suffer this. Unlike my Dad, I will be here in 20 years for them.

It all circles around to my fear of ending up like my Dad. What if I’m not here in 20 years? This morbid part of me actually bought little notebooks to write letters to them for them to read in the future and know how much I love them, because I wish I had something like that to read from my Dad. I’ve written in them a few times, but every time I pick it up, I wonder if I am admitting to myself that I don’t think I’ll be around in 20 years. Don’t get me wrong, it’s also a sweet idea. Who wouldn’t love having handwritten letters from their parent talking about what they’ve done that day as they’re growing up and how much they love them?

I got seriously depressed a couple weeks ago and I’ll tell you the only thing that made me feel like life was worth living was having my kids lay on top of me. Like a mommy-pile. Their weight, their energy, their scents, their giggles, it all gave me a little more energy and a little more hope.

Anyways, I just saw my new psych (because my other one is retiring) and we’re tweaking my meds. We added Zoloft just over a week ago and it certainly brought me out of my depression I was feeling, but it sent me into a hypomanic state. Not a big deal, as long as I’m not bothering anyone. My old psych is the one who started me on Zoloft and he wanted me to double the dosage to 100mg a day after a week, but I told my new psych that I’m just not comfortable doing that right now considering how drastically I felt the 50mg had already affected me. I’ve felt that my hypomanic state has declined a bit, into a more normal than hypomanic area.

Sorry for the morbid title. Nope, no, I’m not sorry. And BTW, don’t google an image for “morbid”. That shit is REALLY morbid.

XOXO (I love Gossip Girl)

Hi. My name is Melissa and I am living with Bipolar Disorder.


I was really nervous about telling my boss about my illness. I wish I had a better opinion about him – everyone there likes him, so he’s gotta be nice – but in my 4 months there, all I’ve heard from him is that I’m the slowest.

Just what someone who has been recently diagnosed with a mental illness needs to hear.

I couldn’t talk to him until the end of the night. When I noticed he was back in his office, I went back, knocked on the door, and then tried to delay the process by commenting about his lovely flowers on his desk.

I told him I needed to make a schedule availability change. He told me to speak to so-and-so who handles scheduling. But then he asked why.

I just jumped right in. I told him I have Bipolar Disorder and that the lack of a consistent sleep pattern is causing a lot of trouble. I can’t work nights anymore …which means I can’t work during the week…which means I can only work Saturday and Sunday lunch shifts.

He didn’t really like that. He looked like he had just been put in a bad position.

I took the opportunity to say “You know how you say I’m slow? The illness causes cognitive dysfunction. My memory is horrible sometimes, I have trouble processing information, and I get confused and indecisive.”

He expressed understanding and said his daughter is “like that too”. Weird. Her name is Melissa too.

Then he said “You know, technically, you have to be available to work 3 days a week. Why can’t you work a lunch during the week?”

“My (many) children.”

“Ohh yeah.”

“I was only diagnosed 5 months ago, so I’m still learning how to adjust my life to the illness.”

(I made effort to say ILLNESS as much as possible. I had no plans on how to conduct this conversation, but I did know I would be using that word a lot.)

By this point we’re walking out of the office. It felt like the conversation was drifting off, so I said “I’ll make sure to talk to so-and-so. Thanks.” To which he replied “Uh hu.”

Well that’s it, committed readers. Now I have to send an email to so-and-so who I’ve known for 2 weeks and seems infinitely nicer, which means she probably wont be.

My therapist today, upon razorblade revelation, insisted I stop working altogether. Grand idea if you weren’t poor.

She inaisted that if things aren’t taken care of properly and in a timely manner, yours truly would be hospitalized .

Pillars took it poorly…he was planning on my contribution to our financial well-being being more than two days a week.

Ill let you know what the scheduling manager says!

Little Chest of Horrors


My husband and I changed bedrooms a couple months ago. We moved most of our things to the downstairs office, and most of the office stuff to the ex-playroom. I was in the old room wrapping up some of the last few things to make it ready for our oldest to move into tonight. I picked up a earring and opened up a drawer to my jewelry box. It was full of skeletons.

I bought a lot of jewelry during my manic episode. Nothing expensive. Mostly big, gaudy, cheap costume pieces. I still wear some, and I still buy some, but not as frequently. There were a few pieces in the drawers that I had forgotten about, and seeing them made me freeze. It felt similar to what it looks like on TV when a ghost walks through someone. I felt like I do right before someone sticks a needle in me.

I threw a couple things away that specifically reminded me of one of my affair partners. I paid attention to how it made me feel…what kind of attachment I had to it. It was like throwing away a piece of trash, or something was no longer useful. It just had no purpose to me anymore.  Can’t complain about that.

Its such an odd feeling when I come across what others who have committed adultery probably consider triggers. I don’t feel a longing for the APs, but a longing for how my marriage used to be. I don’t feel any desire to contact them, or that “me”. I only want to forget this ever happened, being as there’s no way to undo it. But I can’t forget it happened, because it caused my husband so much pain and nearly ruined my family. And I can’t deny it because its my illness, and denying it will lead to my demise.

Its a nasty circle of pain. I try to forget it, but weekly therapy and nightly medication denies me that chance. I have no choice but to live with it, but I think that can only be solved with time. Accepting being bipolar – I’ve suspected that for years, that’s not the hard part. Accepting that a manic me had affairs is a whole other ball game.

Losing it. Keeping it.


I’m battling an episode. Really. It feels like a goddamn war. One that sometimes I just want to give up.

And I don’t know that I need to fight it. Do I have to? Is it even an enemy? Will it really hurt me?

The “real” me is battling the manic me that likes to go out with barely any clothes on, drink rum and coke until I need someone to carry me, wear bright makeup, and flirt dangerously. <—hey let's all admit this chic sounds fun. And I hear she's hott.

My self esteem picked up. I don't think Im disgusting anymore. Hey, that's not a bad thing, right??

I long for a drink sometimes. But not just one. That can go in the "bad" column.

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        My Dad liked to drink too…

I talk. And talk. And talk. Good for my job – my guests love it when I continuously engage them in conversation. And it reflects in my tips. Good column.

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                   Who doesn’t?

And I’m frickin hilarious. Well, at least I think so. Always something witty to say. Unlike the real me who takes 6 hours to come up with a come-back. Good column.

I’m productive. I think easily. Another thing the real me can’t do. I can easily multi-task without having to blink. It’s another trait that makes work easier. My depressed brain stutters. Bad. My normal brain moves at what I would suspect is a normal speed. My manic brain does laps around everyone elses brains. If my brain were in the Olympics…

Oh. Now there’s an idea. Brain Olympics. Bipolar people would totally kick ass.

When I’m shopping, everything grabs my attention. “Oh look, its toddler toothpaste with Pinky Pie on it!….Ohh look at this new training toothbrush with the little finger loop on it so they can brush their little teeth….” Luckily, my husband was in the phone with me (Yes….I was saying all that to myself….) to keep me focused on the goal.

I think that last one should qualify as a bad column. Its using up time I could be productive.

Is any of this anything to worry about? Some may say no, but Im gonna say yes. The hurtful part of all this – the hypersexuality – is dangerous. Because when it hits, the rest of me throws the deuces up and checks out. Anyways, its here. Has been for a few days. I just haven’t been able to relinquish my grip on myself. And I don’t want to.

Hypersexuality – so, how long has it been since you’ve had sex with your husband? My therapist asks.

I think its been nearly 2 weeks.

What?? There’s no reason it should be that long. Especially if you’re feeling hypersexual. What’s wrong?

Idk. The feeling is there, but I think I might be scared to have sex right now because it might trigger something. Or he might see in my eyes that I am not emotionally there. Ans he’s in so much pain anyways, I don’t wanna do that to him.

She ended up getting me in tomorrow with the psychiatrist at which point I have to tell him all my symptoms and also that’s I am scared of myself. She toke me to say that, but it really is the truth. Im not in control of myself.

Either way, its putting us all on edge. Which is weird. Here I am. Im the one that without, people would live a little easier. I seem to bring destruction into people’s worlds. And not even on purpose, but because of an illness, which is even more unfair.

Ugh. Im sure something will done Thur. I’ll let you all know…

On Being Overweight, Miserable, and Bipolar.


First off, I would like to start this blog post with a warm thanks to a fellow [woman!] blogger who stated [in a blog] that no woman should ever be over 140 lbs unless they are pregnant or 6′ tall.

On to more substantial content.

My husband was cleaning out a closet tonight and found a pile of pictures that contained some of my Dad. He asked if I’d like to take a look at the whole pile, because there may be more pictures. Of course I did! I think I’ll make a separate post of those pictures another time 🙂

As with any other old stack of photos, I found some of me with an ex.

More importantly, me, just over 200 lbs.

Here, enjoy one for yourself.

Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you!

Please note the candy canes in my center pocket. For proper snacking later on. After grimacing at the pictures for a couple minutes, I wondered, “Hey. Why am I wearing jean overalls in allllllll of these pictures??” And I instantly remembered. They best hid my figure. It was all I had that I could fit into, and a little piece of me was refusing to buy new – bigger – clothing.

Fast forward to a hot little me coming off of a hypomanic episode (3 months ago):

I mean, in this picture, even I wanna touch my boobs. And you can’t see it…but I’m wearing this tight mini-skirt that I love.

I’ve gained 10 lbs since this picture was taken. Yeah, 10 lbs isn’t anything, really. But on a 5’4″ girl, it can actually look like a lot. I blame this on just a few key reasons:

  1. I’m not nearly out of my mind.
  2. I’m on medication that has been known to make people want to eat.
  3. I don’t have the manic energy that was driving me to run 10-12 miles/week all those months. I’m lucky to get 1 mile a week now.
  4. I’m sorting through a lot of CRAP about my illness and what that means/the pain I’ve caused/how to move forward/etc, etc. That’s left me self medicating with sweet stuff. And nachos and cheese from 7-11.

Either way, that previous picture was all I needed to get my thick ass pounding the pavement this evening. 

I’m running, and as usual I end up crying. No biggie. I cry nearly every run now.

As I mentioned, I ran a lot when I was in my episode. I stayed in the neighborHOOD, but I’m certain I ran every street possible. I’ve continued to run in the same places, but every time, it brings up memories of running during my episode. Maybe it’s similar to a recovering alcoholic hanging out at the bars they used to get trashed in.

I usually come out of the tears less than a block down the street, nobody notices, and I actually feel better after having cried. But this time, when I got home I didn’t feel any better. I was uncomfortable. The memory and recollection of the feelings from months ago weren’t gone.

I know you’re expecting this to go somewhere, but it’s not. I came inside, took my shoes off, went back outside and paced in front of my house for a few minutes. I don’t know why I took my shoes off and then went back outside. That’s just how my mind operates sometimes. Fun, no?

But my lovely husband gave me a nice shoulder and face massage when I came back in to help calm me. And it did. He always gets me into such deep meditative states when he massages me (which is daily, might I add!). I even start to drool.

Once again, it’s great being me!

I was a little loose.


Still being fairly new in my diagnosis, I’m still looking back in my life with a fine tooth comb. Trying to find previous episodes that went undetected. How serious had I gotten? Were my 2 previous episodes of depression and hypomania my worst? Do I think any future episodes may be worse?

So I was just casually thinking aloud to myself last night as I was crawling into bed with Mr bRaving. I was thinking of past moments that qualify as hypomanic episodes. Those were what I was oblivious to. Who would question such a good feeling anyways? Especially when they were always peppered with depression.

Any hypomanic episodes I can remember are mainly characterized by hypersexuality. Looking back on them, I wonder why I did that. It wasn’t getting me anywhere. There was no emotion behind the sex. No desire for the person, just the act. At the time, when I questioned it, I summed it up to Daddy issues. Last night, it was clear to me what all that was.

It’s been clear to me for weeks that that’s what that was. But then I let my mind take it another step and ask, “Why didn’t anyone tell me I was doing something wrong?”

Who would’ve told me? The guys I was banging? Um, no. My Mom? Yeah…like I’d tell her the way I was behaving. My boyfriend at the time? He never found out. My friends? I didn’t have any. Me? I was following an instinctual drive.

It was souless. Very much like pounding a pawn around a game board. I was just hitting the spaces, counting up the numbers.

Then it occurred to me that I had no boundaries at that point in my life. No marriage vows to break. No rules as a single girl in her late teens/early 20s, living away from home.

Fast forward to now…rules are in place, and I broke them. My pawn hit the “Got to Jail” square. And finally my illness is revealed.

I wish I had known all this before I did something that I’m having a very hard time living with.

Burning.


I finished “An Unquiet Mind” by Kay Redfield Jamison today. I loved it, and it’s helped me find a little more peace in life right now. I found many passages that touched me, and I’ll eventually share them all. There is one that I found in the last few pages today that has changed the way I view my illness now, and I wanted that to be the first one I share:

“I have seen the breadth and depth and width of my mind and heart and seen how frail they both are, and how ultimately unknowable they both are. Depressed, I have crawled on my hands and knees in order to get across a room and have done it for month after month. But, normal or manic, I have run faster, thought faster, and loved faster than most I know. And I think much of this is related to my illness – the intensity it gives to things and the perspective it forces on me.”

I personally have always felt like I feel everything, be it good or bad, to the extreme. I always passed it off as me being an emotional nut case of a woman. I mean, we’re all emotional right?

I have been viewing bipolar (or manic-depressive if you prefer) in a totally negative way. True, it can be destructive. And, it’s been destructive in my life recently. But it’s also to blame for the intense GOOD feelings I have. It’s why my mom has always called me a perfectionist and why I always pushed for perfection in everything I did growing up. I kinda liked that label until the last several years, when I felt like my internal drive for perfection was interrupting how much enjoyment I was getting out of life. I was too concentrated on making sure everything I was doing was RIGHT instead of enjoying the moment and enjoying what I was doing.

It’s why I feel a burning passion for so many things: music, children, running, art, sleep (HAHA). I sincerely mean a “burning” passion. I thought everyone felt that burn, and it’s those people who don’t feel any passion that are “wrong”. But it turns out that there’s a more normal side to passion, and while I am on one extreme the feeling, those that don’t feel the burn are on the other. And if their extreme is wrong, then so is mine. Needless to say, I no longer thing they’re wrong for not feeling a burn. God gave all their burn to me.

It’s why I can sit outside, anywhere, and be brought to tears from the sound of the wind and the smell of the grass.

In short, I can’t hate this illness. It’s made me who I am. It made me a good musician, an artist, a lover, a hater, a runner, an eater, a worker…a feeler.

Hey, it’s better than cancer.


That’s what my therapist told me shortly after my diagnosis. And my first thought was “Dear God, what if I get cancer AND am bp…can I take my meds together? Will I have to choose between dying of cancer or a severe depression or episode that makes me wanna kill myself anyways?…..” She could see my eyes glaze over and asked what I was thinking, and for one of the first times in my 3 years visiting her, I was totally honest. She told me to forget she said anything. Too late. I’m pretty sure I’ll be asking the next medical doctor I see if Lithium and chemo mix well. A girl needs to be prepared.

It hasn’t quite been 2 weeks yet, but it feels like forever. I’m sure the fact that I am acutely aware of everything I think and dissect each thought to make sure it is a reasonable one doesn’t help. I have had plenty of time to research the disorder and find stories of varying kinds about the ups and downs of bipolordom. HAHA, a pun! The stories that remind me that the illness brings life and creativity give me hope, while the stories like that of a seemingly normal mom who choked her 5 year old in a bathtub threatens despair. (www.oprah.com/world/Coping-with-Bipolar-Disorder)

I’m on the starting dose of 900mg of Lithium. I see the psychiatrist again in about 3 weeks, and he said we will probably up my dosage to 1050mg then. I had my first Lithium levels drawn almost a week ago, and he said they came back just fine (.5), not anywhere near a dangerous level. That is one topic I need to research. I trust him, but I will never be a doctor’s blind sheep.

There are a few things of which I am sure, and many more things of which I am confused, angry, scared, and ashamed about. But mostly confused. What things did I do that were coerced by this illness? How far back in my life does this reach? How strong of a hold did this have on me, and WHO AM I? I have my morals (although some were corrupted by the illness), and my love for my husband, children, and my family. But past those 2 things, I do not know what hasn’t been touched. That makes me feel like an empty shell. I know I will warm up to it and embrace what I am and not be so hesitant and questioning about my feelings some day. Hopefully some day soon. But for now, I just have to let this sink in and sift through the last 20 years of my life to make sense of it all. I want to know who is looking back at me in the mirror.