Friday, August 31, 2012


I wanted to do a piece on Ted, my old therapist today, but it's coming out like trying to eat jello with chopsticks, so I have put it on the back burner for another day.

Sometimes poems take a lifetime to write. Indeed, I have been working on some poems for that long, and some I will never finish. I will just put them down on paper at some point, interrupting their poem lives, and those who read them will think they are finished, when they are not.

It is 4 o'clock in the of my favorite times of day. It's cool and quiet outside and a blue moon is promised for tonight. The cats are excited. Prime unicorn hunting during a blue moon.

My therapist is moving to a new office, to the business owned by my psychiatrist, actually. While I am ecstatic for my therapist, yesterday officially SUCKED. I don't know, with all the financial arrangements, if I will be able to continue seeing him. My response to the news was to go to an AA meeting and eat a pint of ice cream.

But first, I called my psychiatrist's office to MAKE it happen. If he could somehow order my therapist to see me. I mean, let's get real. I have sunk a fortune into my psychiatrist, and deserve some consideration for being one of his most loyal nutjobs. I found out it doesn't work that way. 

Then, I called my therapist to MAKE it happen. When he had already told me he wouldn't know until Tuesday. It will break my heart if I have to lose him. I just can't do it. Breaking them in is so hard. You have to teach yourself to trust them, which is hard enough. But first, you have to find out if they are trustworthy, which is what I suck at.

With my disorders, particularly the Borderline Personality disorder, you have a hard time trusting anyone. Then, when you do, you are almost always wrong. But since you are going to f**k up the relationship anyway...catch my drift?

But my therapist was personally vetted and endorsed by a friend who also has BPD, so he started with a leg up on that one. It was a cinch win for me. I couldn't lose. Until now. So I have gone into disaster preparedness mode, and ate an entire pint of ice cream last night. It's better than drinking, but that's beside the point. All I can do now is hold on until Tuesday and try not to eat too much until then. It's a good thing I'm broke and fudge is so expensive.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


It's a cool morning with a touch of mistiness about it. The unicorn meat eating cats have given up sleep, and are out hunting. Even Max, the spaz dog, is awake. He has to have total darkness to sleep and I have left the bedroom light on...

The cicadas stopped singing some while ago, and it's only the quieter crickets you can hear now in the morning. The zinnia are attracting all kinds of butterflies, and the lavender is home to some large, fat, bumbling bees.

I have been jumping on the computer the moment I wake, and have been forgetting to listen to the 'silence' of summer mornings. I pay for it in the long run, so I devoted my blog hour yesterday to listening.

Late summer mornings always seem to hold their breaths, waiting for fall. The grass still needs mowing, and the pool still needs cleaning, but the very air has changed. I pick tomatoes in a feverish hurry, as if the bounty will end tomorrow. One or two trees on the hillside have put on their colors, even as the roses still bloom.

There is such an air of expectation in the fall, which ends with a sigh in winter. And I love winter. In this area of the world, and climate change, we don't get many deep snows anymore. Although the wind can blow mighty cold in January, down in this little valley.

But it's the bones of winter that I love. The trees and bushes abandon modesty, and stand naked. Some have touches of green, or berries of red or yellow or gray. But there they are, in all their glory. The fields turn gold, and the lavender turns silver. The creek becomes clear again, and the slate and shells at the bottom are set against the stones and the darker moss.

The sun turns pale, white against the bluer sky, and the air feels cleaner. I love the days when your breath and the grass is tipped silver. The leaves crackle underfoot and have a moist, earth smell. The grass near the creek stays green, and the little waterfall plumes over the rock, sending up it's own scent.

This is what I dream of when the day gets too moist and hot now. Or what I think of when I am tired of all the green, and want something red to think about and it's too hot to think of red, except in tomato form. I'm going to enjoy the coolness of the day while I can.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Sherbert Lemon*

Another day, some more pills.

Max, my corgi mix who has seizures, is resting peacefully in bed. I wish I could join him, but it's late, already 6 AM, and it's the day to mow the lawn. That might sound like a real bore, but I love the scent of mowed grass, and walking around under a cloudless sky. It's exhilarating. Especially since it hasn't been that long ago that I couldn't walk outside.

Max is now getting a walk every day. I had stopped for a while. His lean and lithe puppyhood has passed, and he is turning into a chunky dog. One of the best things my old therapist, Ted, did for me is hypnotize me. His only command? Walk every day. Only God knows what else he told me, but I am still alive, so I won't quibble on that part.

It didn't hurt that I had one of the most beautiful places on earth to walk. I went to Hollins University, and they have a stunning landscaper. With a little help from the gods, and some really neat paths, it was enough to entice me to walk.

Some days it was brilliant outside, and completely cloudless, and yet I felt as if I were walking in a tunnel. The edges of my vision would turn black, and all I could see was the tree or bush or whatever in front of me. The edges weren't so foglike after I got Eddie, my service animal.

I was so far gone that I even walked in darkness with him sometimes. For a woman, always a bad idea, no matter where you are. And particularly not when you are completely insane. I just didn't want anyone else to see me, I don't know why. Or talk to me, or pet my dog.

It ended up in daylight, and Eddie and I would pick up trash on the campus. There was a lot of it, that year. It was my own personal garden, and I felt satisfaction when I pulled up tires from the mud of Tinker Creek, or collected beer bottles on my way. I had an estate. Then the University hired someones to pick up for me and it was a bit less satisfying, but more beautiful.

There has been a lull in my walking since Eddie died two years ago and I am trying to pick up the pieces. Winter is coming on and walking in that season has it's own pleasures. The naked branches of the trees hold the stars in their hair. Flashes of red are cardinals, which no longer leave in the winter. The earth is less flashy, but more solid. And the colors! The slate at the bottom of Tinker Creek, against the brown of the grass and earth is more defined. And the moss stays green the year round. Even the small waterfall speaks louder and the air has the color of mist.

But now, there is still time for the lemony colors of fall, and the scent of a coffee house, and cake. 

*JK Rowling

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Stating the Obvious

For the first time ever, Saudi Arabia has shown up on my stats. Blogspot saves the statistics of how many hits you get in a day, month, etc., which posts generate the most hits, and where the hits are coming from geographically. I don't know about other bloggers, but I run to stats as fast as I can sign in. I live on the numbers. I am being read! Hurrah!

And now, Saudi Arabia has taken a look, and I have a feeling you went right to the post, "Sex". Don't ask me how. Like Harry Potter standing in front of Prof. Snape, I just know.

Yesterday, it being the weekend, my stats hit a low, and I ran to my Muses, the Saucy Brit and Exponential. They, being sterling friends, promptly 'reposted' my blog on Facebook, and my stats went back up. I am so needy in so many ways. But after writing for a year with one or two views a day, if any, it is exhilarating to be read in numbers.

My UK numbers fell off after the Olympics, an opposite brain drain effect, but I seem to have a steady increase in Russia. I wonder if Putin will try to stop it?

Of course, me being me, some days I feel brilliant and some days I feel like I am scraping the bottom of the pan to get a post out. I'm writing about the habits of two cats and a dog? Really? But when one comes down to the End of all, it will be those ordinary things I am leaving behind that I miss the most. My zinnia, the lavender, my friends, those rescue animals...this is life. To state the obvious.

And so I write about today and of those memories it is both painful and delicious to remember: feeding two orphan cats out of an eye dropper when I couldn't feed myself, and picking Rat Face Bastard up out of the snow and taking him home, found while I was searching for Oscar Wilde, who never did come home.  The zinnia and lavender I thought, as an apartment dweller, that I would never grow again in this life. The discovery of new friends after all the old ones, excepting Beth, dumped me. Which was perfectly understandable at the time, insanity is frightening. But it was, and sometimes is, painful to think about.

And this blog. All of my portfolio, all the work I have ever produced in my life, disappeared in the move away from the house in Botetourt County. The poems I wrote when I was 10, my short stories from the period of my father dying...all gone, forever. And all I can do is rebuild it starting with my blog posts. I suppose that's why I write every day. Sometimes, I want back all I have lost.

Sometimes, it's better off gone.

There was a time I even lost the urge to read and write. So now I write, as honestly as I can, so that you can understand how you can lose your mind but not your spirit. How you can lose your soul, but not your life. I write to tell you that I have been where you have been and there is another side to the tunnel. And I write to tell your friends and family how you feel, if you cannot.

Meanwhile, it's time to feed the kindly stepfather. The cats are circling in their never-ending search for that perfect unicorn, and the Spaz is waiting in bed, like a good dog. I'm just glad I will have time to pick more zinnia today...

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Ugh. I'm glad you're here. I woke up this morning with horrible nightmares. I take something to help me sleep, it is prescription, and it does a fine job, except for the nightmares. But it's better than spending all night listening to the clock ticking.

The air outside is cool this morning, and the cats are hunting. After getting up and deciding there is not much to occupy himself, spaz dog has gone back to bed. After all, he can't help me chain smoke and drink coffee, although he would if I asked.

The water in the pool is still blue and inviting, and the zinnia are chest high in resplendent profusion, but the change in the weather is definitely here.

Vapid started screaming at her cats about an hour ago, when Married but Single left the house. But hopefully she will be in a coma when I have to go up and start the day for the kindly stepfather. 

Every day, as I write, I look at a picture of Eddie, my service animal, who passed 2 years ago. Sometimes still, my very body aches over his passing. His ghost lives in the rear seat of my car. His presence was the only reason I could drive, so long ago. I still carry his service jacket in the trunk. I can't look at it every day, but when I need reassurance I can hold it. I can't write about this any more.

Having a psychiatric service animal is a very touchy proposition. You can train any dog well, but will they respond to that person's own particular emotional and physical needs? THAT, is the Gift.

I am trying to Keep It Simple today, because the thought of life after summer, sober, is frightening...but today is dedicated to mowing the grass, which I love to do. I will just have to face the rest of it when I get there.

And then there are my new friends, the Saucy Brit and Storm. I imagine they can cheer up even Christmas. The Saucy Brit is as vibrant as an oil painting, and Storm is an Italian summer evening year round. And then there is a younger version of them, Exponential, who can shake off depression like a sword in the forge...Life may not be so bad, after all. 

Friday, August 24, 2012


I told a friend on Facebook last night that I was probably on some people's "Do Not Meet and Greet" list for my 30th high school reunion after yesterday's post. But, so far on Facebook, those attending seem determined to discuss politics. If that is all they have to discuss after not seeing each other for 30 years, then I don't want to talk to them either. They have lived in vain. Just sayin'.

The therapy session went well, as always. I just can't lose on that score. I have had two therapists in my life, and I have won both times. Ted was elegant, expensive, and gifted, and Vinnie is elegant, gifted and funded by the United Way, bless their souls.

I even told Vinnie what my fantasy life is like. You know, the world I live in when this one is too much. He told me that it was good to have one, but I don't think I'm supposed to live in one ALL the time. I can do it, it just makes me seem very absent minded.

Onto old news, Prince Harry, third in line to the throne, got caught in Vegas playing strip billiards. The picture shows him quite naked, holding the royal jewels. His fan page had this to say, "Why didn't his guard detail confiscate all cell phones?" Which is an upside down look at it, but as Douglas Adams says, the universe does not need a sense of perspective.

What happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas, apparently. And yes, I am a Royal watcher. It just seems so much more dignified than buying that magazine with J Lo on the cover. You know which one I mean. One wonders if therapists are available to the Royals.

Or maybe they have pets. I love corgis, having a corgi mix myself, but you never see Charles, or William, etc. with any dogs or cats. I think, as punishment, Harry should be locked into a room with a good, fat British shorthair cat. It will solve all his problems, and then the media will be deluged with photos of Harry with moonbeams shooting out his royal arse.

And with that graphic picture still in your head, I will leave you until tomorrow. Adieu. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Borderline Personality Disorder: Adult Content

 I was going to give you the Wikipedia definition, but felt it was too detailed. Yes, this is the stigmatizing, unnamed disability I have. The symptoms of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) are pretty easy to spot for me. But differentiating between BPD and Bipolar disorder is truly a nightmare.  It's also pretty much all my long-suffering psychiatrist wants me to do. And, as I mentioned in my last post, my therapist tries to keep track of this shit, too.

To me, it's a bit like someone asking you the manufacturer's name of a chain link fence, when you are being held against the fence by a mugger. It is just not that important at the moment.

When I was first diagnosed, all sorts of horrible images ran through my head: was I a baby killer? An animal torturer? Did I eat whale meat? Was I, God forbid, a Consumer? So I promptly shelved the problem for 15 years, while my therapist and psychiatrist worked on it without me knowing. I vaguely remember that time. I was quite nutty and psychotic and I couldn't deal with One More Thing. I also started drinking again, which, to me, solved that problem right then and there. What problem?

Apart from the stigma, which exists even among health care professionals, I have hesitated to name this problem for this reason: it makes me even more vulnerable to the sickos out there.

You might be getting a real laugh out of that one, but it can be a common complaint, even within families. There are many human beings who, knowing you have a mental illness, set out to take advantage of your condition. They are the same sickos who rape people who are in a coma, or aren't able to speak, etc. Yes, it does happen. And it is not nearly infrequent as you would like to think.

The doctor who sexually assaulted me targeted women with Bipolar disorder. I was targeted for years by a guy who pretended to know the aliens in my head, and ended up stealing some of my jewelry. He was comparatively mild, he only wanted 'company' and beer money. Or there are the numerous people who simply like f**king with you because you are mentally ill. That kind also tortures baby animals. I have even been taken advantage of by a private, non-profit that I worked for.

And families? Well, some families belittle those family members with disabilities by chalking up every action, emotion, and decision to the disorder(s). This is the hardest to accept. This is Stigma.

People who don't know enough think that the Person IS the disorder(s) that they have. All it boils down to is this: I am not different from you, but I might react differently than you would. And I might not, it depends on the culture that person lives in. I would have made a brilliant shaman, to name one.

 The unicorn meat eating cats are awake and want to go outside and Max, my spaz puppy, is asleep in the bed. The zinnia and lavender have been humming quite loudly lately, happy with all the rain we have had, and the grass is growing as we speak, as they say. And there are true friends in the world, which makes the journey all worthwhile.

As Anne Frank wrote, "Those who love me have found me."

WebMD has this to say:
Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness that causes intense mood swings, impulsive behaviors, and severe problems with relationships and self-worth. People with this disorder often have other problems such as depression, eating disorders, or substance abuse.

Everyone has problems with emotions or behaviors sometimes. But if you have borderline personality disorder, the problems are severe, repeat over a long time, and disrupt your life. The most common symptoms include:
  • Intense emotions and mood swings.
  • Impulsive behaviors that are self-damaging, such as substance abuse, binge eating, and reckless driving.
  • Relationship problems.
  • Low self-worth.
  • A frantic fear of being left alone (abandoned).
  • Aggressive behavior.
Other symptoms may include:
  • Feeling empty inside.
  • Problems with anger, such as violent temper tantrums.
  • Hurting yourself, such as cutting or burning yourself.
  • Suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts.
  • Feeling suspicious of others for no reason (feeling paranoid) or losing a sense of reality.
It is easy to confuse this disorder with other mental illnesses such as antisocial personality disorder. So if you think that you or someone you know may have borderline personality disorder, see a doctor. Don't try to diagnose yourself.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Song Remains the Same*

One of the unicorn meat eating cats came in to grab some trail mix, (Cat Chow), and distracted me right at the beginning today. But it's a good way to start the day, along with my time with you. I cut back old zinnia so new could grow, and harvested the lavender. We finally got some cucumbers from the vine, and the late season tomatoes are larger and more robust than the earlier.

It's only 2 more days until my therapy session and I think I have decided to live. A month with only two sessions reminds me a bit too much of Laura Ingalls Wilder's, The Hard Winter, where the whole family starves through a brutal South Dakota winter.

Today is a day that I like to call Listening to Ghosts. It's a meditative mood, where I withdraw into myself for a length of time. My therapist will want me to break it down into differing chords for him. And like an intricately interwoven set of music, it is my job to try to separate the individual melodies that make up the whole, so that he can help me direct each instrument. 

I have tried to avoid it, it can be very confusing. It's like walking into a room where all the instruments are warming up. There seems to be nothing but Chaos. In reality, each instrument is playing it's favorite song. The PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is playing one tune, and the Bipolar disorder even another. And then there is the unnamed disorder I won't tell you the name of, sharpening it's skills. The sound is overwhelming, so I retreat into a world of fantasy, where I control everything. In order to do that, however, I have to cut down on sensory input. No t.v., no music, no conversation, no attention to the outside world. All of these become physically painful.

The only way to fight it, is to stay in the room and brave the sound. Sometimes I can do that, and sometimes not. Alcohol made it easier to withdraw, but brought along a brass section.

And so, here I sit this morning, limiting my attention to this page, and the fantasy world calls in the distance, like a trumpet playing Taps.

*Led Zepplin

Monday, August 20, 2012


This is not the blog I wanted to write. After my mini vacation this weekend, I wanted to write a funny blog. Something entertaining. But what has come out is just the flat and unfunny truth. And I am sorry about that. Maybe tomorrow. But there is a lot of anguish in being mentally disabled, and particularly bipolar, since I can only speak from my own experience. And the anguish tends to leak all over the place. That said, here it goes.

Orgasm isn't any different for us than it is for others. It's the same old, same old thing and we like it that way. What is different is that our medications effect our sex drive. And that's a whole different can of worms.

Now, I know the readers without mental disabilities are thinking, "Well, my blood pressure medicine affects my sex drive. How are they any different?" What if EVERY pill your doctor prescribed for anything affected your sex drive For The Worse? And, no matter how much they changed them, if you did get one that didn't affect your sex drive (doesn't happen, by the way) it has the side effect of say, bleeding from the eyes? Or permanent damage to the kidneys?

So, at the beginning, we are set on an endless cycle of searching for a medication that doesn't have THAT effect. It's Something We All Know.

Then there is dangerous "sex", which is not really sex. Where our mental disabilities put us at risk in a situation and we don't perceive that risk. That's how I came to be sexually assaulted by an M.D. My mind just kept telling me that what I was perceiving was false. I didn't trust myself and my perceptions enough to be able to defend myself. And since I was psychotic at the time, when I did report it, I was put into the psych center, where I ended up being "under the care" of the doctor who raped me. Almost 2 decades later, and he is still practicing, and yet, has 4 more charges of sexual assault against him.

Then there is fun sex. Having mania is one of the best feelings in the world, although the consequences are usually disastrous for us and those around us. But having sex with a person to whom you are committed while they are manic can be spectacular.

Bipolar people are quite creative, which can be quite fun in bed. And we are so happy to "be connected" to another human being that it can also be a very joyful occasion. We have a helluva imagination

At this time in my life and, this is very normal for people 'like' me: I have had one relationship where sex was a component in 17 years; it lasted 4. Believe me, I still have sex, but not with anyone else. (I told you we have great imaginations and a rich fantasy life. Thank you, Alan Rickman!) And this is only after my therapist, TOLD me to get crackin', as it were. I had been celibate for 4 years and had gotten very sick. Sex and food and shelter are basic drives. Lose one and get ill. And yes, we do have to discuss this shit with our therapists. And now, I am blogging about it.

And this post doesn't come close to saying all I have to say on the subject, but it's enough for now.
I hope I'll still see you tomorrow.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Banana Split

How do I wake up with deep cat scratches across my back? It's 3 AM and I have had no where near enough coffee yet.

I discovered the most wonderful flavor of ice cream last night at a little shop. Cappuccino, with toffee bits and streaks of fudge in it. It rivaled some men I have had, truly, and must have been invented in the kitchen at Hogwartz. Another gift from the wizarding world to us.

For those of you who have been tempted, when I was really bananas, I wanted to do a little field research. I was still going to the University and was working on a story about a CIA officer who had lost his wife. I just had to know what kind of ice cream he ate. It was essential to the story, you see. (This was BEFORE I started drinking again.) So I called the CIA building in Langley and explained what I wanted.

This is the part that may be interesting to those of you who have been tempted to do just that: call the CIA and talk.  Apparently, there are so many nutjobs like me out there that they have a special office to field our calls. Your tax dollars at work. No kidding. They gave me a phone number in Reston, VA, and I talked to a 'retired' officer about what flavor of ice cream he liked until he wormed it out of me that my Dad had just died and I had been sexually assaulted in the same summer.

 I suppose he was older, he sounded older, and after finding out I had no weapons in the house, and wasn't planning to harm myself, and discussing ice cream, he advised me to find a therapist. He also urged me to call back anytime I wanted. I'm sure I would have been talking to some policeman in person soon after. So now you know to whom you will be speaking if you ever get the urge.

Speaking of men reminds me of my medication shift. Off the Abilify until the next desperate episode where my psychiatrist won't give me any of the good meds. The 'good' meds also take away sexual desire, but you don't care. They are that great. I could get some on the black market, or go to a different doctor, but I am afraid of ending up in the looney bin. My non-suffering psychiatrist assures me I will end up in rehabilitation again if I insist on the good stuff. And he won't give it to me anyway. So. There is that.

But I think I will hold off about talking about sex and mental disabilities until tomorrow. I hope that isn't a spoiler for you, but I thought you deserved some warning, considering how well we know each other.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Why I Hate Facebook

Don't get me wrong. I love Facebook: it's just the charming inconsistencies that drive me to my meds, and that spot where I used to hide the bottle.

And how are you this morning? I actually slept well last night, I'll tell you why. Vapid is taking us a vacation at the ocean. She is Gone Until Tomorrow.

Then I get up, try to place my blog site as the last 'place of employment' on my updated Facebook timeline, and get bupkus. Don't try to look up that word, if your native tongue is not English. I'm sure it's in some dictionary somewhere, but I'm on a roll this morning and can't be bothered to look it up. I don't even know if I spelled it right. But that's how it was pronounced in my family, and that's how I'm spelling it.

I will define it for you: Nada, zilch, nothing. It is the only double positive in English that means a negative. Used in a sentence, "I looked for Lord Voldemort all day, and didn't get bupkus." From the Latin root: Butt Kiss. I know, I know, it can be confusing. It's on the same level as, "I didn't get squat." Which states that you actually got something, but means that you got bupkus. Nothing.

That's what I didn't get from Facebook this morning. And let me tell you, waking up and "not getting bupkus" is like reading yet another medication bottle that says it may cause lack of sexual desire. Well, of course it might. Drug designers don't want us to have fun, do they?

That is the constant battle for people like me: It can't effect our desire to eat so that we LOSE weight, just the opposite. To be plain, we can be physically attractive and have sex and be spinning tops out in the world, or we can conform and take our meds. Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, which would YOU choose? Let's be honest here. This isn't a test. You wanted to know why so many people are on disability? They choose exactly as you would choose if you had to face that choice.

So the dance is this: we, the mentally disabled, periodically don't take our meds, or play with doses, or are constantly searching for another one, and we get bupkus. Even I, who is a stickler for taking her meds, plays with this option (see yesterday's post.) The hard core medications for psychiatric illness in the 1950's were LSD and Lithium. No kidding. Guess which one the medical establishment chose to endorse?

And they call us paranoid.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Deep in Clover

I am disrupting my dog, Max's, sleep schedule getting up at this hour but the cats roll with the punches. Today is Black Cat Appreciation Day and I am celebrating it in my heart. Mine was called Fudge and lived to be 23 years old. He was Mom's special cat, and a week after she passed, he curled up on her bed and died.

It looks more and more as if the kindly stepfather and Sunbunny will have to put the house up for sale, if Vapid has anything to do with it. She is nasty enough with alcohol, but without is truly a nightmare. She stayed closed in her room yesterday, but snapped when Married but Single showed up to take her out for the evening. It's amazing how she can stay upright on the back of a motorcycle...In the latter stages of liver disease, the liver, and thus, the stomach, distends. I can't tell how much of that she has because of her diapers; is it diaper or stomach? She also wears enormous coats, even in the hottest weather, and that alters her silhouette as well.

Although I have no room to talk. I am chunkier than before I quit drinking, from eating more. AA tells us not to worry the first year about gaining weight, "First things First." You can always lose that weight after you have some sobriety under your belt, is the reasoning. But eating a pound of fudge at one sitting? Don't know about that.

Which leads me to my medications or meds. I have, once again, taken myself off of Abilify. After a month on it, I am eating like Vin Deisel and I hit deep depression. I only take it in desperation. As a recovering alcoholic, my shrink won't prescribe anything like xanax, ativan, or any other anti-anxiety drug. You know, the good stuff, that works.

No, he and my therapist have come to the conclusion that I can overcome all those nightmares and anxiety with my mind. Meditation, regular exercise, healthy diet; all that shit that any normal person with mental illness tends to avoid.

For my anxiety, they also have me taking 6 mgs. of omega 3 fatty acids, or fish oil pills a day. They do work on the nervous system, quieting the 'fight or flight' response; that is, I'm not so jumpy. They also make my hair shiny. But it's not the instant release from overwhelming worry that I want. I can feel my life shortening with every panic attack, and to not give me something proven to work seems cruel.

I am most bitter against my gentle and humorous shrink (psychiatrist). He has battled with me for 17 years, but he takes his own advice and is quite well mentally, and I am sure, sleeps soundly at night. And yet, here I am writing this blog at 3 AM. As I lie down for a nap at 8 AM, I have this cynical picture of him in some deeply carpeted bedroom, which muffles the footsteps of the maid who opens the drapes, and serves him breakfast in bed. He has a bird's eye view of his estate, hip deep in horses and deer, and there is always a sprightly flower on his breakfast tray, which is adorned with china and fine linen.

I don't feel the same about my new therapist because I have his phone number, which he will actually answer anytime of the day or night. Now that's plebeian for you. I only call when I am really going off the deep end with no respite in sight, but I know he doesn't get crumpets and Earl Gray for breakfast. I just have this feeling. He also doesn't like to take vacations, which is one up in my book. After all, I am mentally ill 24/7, why should he get any time off?

Of course, the time off keeps him sane enough to treat me, so I try not to complain. But it's hard to view the unrelenting nature of mental illness and not be bitter. I mean, my gods above, the medical establishment is still using Lithium, designed in the 1950's...don't get me started.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


It's too early for the unicorn meat eating cats to hunt, and the wrong phase of the moon. Max hasn't had anymore seizures, and I feel ok. That's the start of a very good day. Let's hope it stays that way.

Everything is ok at this time of the morning; it's the benefit of getting up now. No one else is awake. It's when the sun comes up that my troubles start. And, although that might sound overly cynical, it works out to be true every single morning. Today is a Thursday without a therapy session; Vinnie is on vacation. I'll just have to vent my spleen here.

But at this hour, as I have said, I don't have that much spleen to vent. Which I am very grateful for.

Later: Sorry, folks, even I had to go back to bed at that hour. Instead of chasing unicorns, the cats are SUNNING. I'm not sure the last time the little one, Minkins, got to go outside when there is daylight out there. I hope he doesn't go blind...

The big cat, Rat-faced Bastard, or Rattie for short, is wandering in and out. He gets to go out in the sunlight, so he is unimpressed with this unusual time. He just wants food.

I have a small fear of not having a therapy session today, but even they have to take vacations, I suppose. I have my favorite AA meeting later on this afternoon, so that will be tranquil.

So this is just Thursday. Until tomorrow. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Leaves

It IS fall. I know the heat beats down and I sweat and swim, but the sounds are different. I have to make plans for the winter, the zinnia won't last forever. And soon, my backyard will be full of unicorns. I won't be able to let the cats out to chase them.

I can't drink myself through the winter like I did last time. Drinking heavily is a time waster, but eventually the heaves make it less worth while. Smoking and drinking coffee are an alternative, but coffee consumption and cabin fever are not a good combo. If I eat my way through the winter, I won't be able to fit through the doorway come spring...and on and on.

I am happier this morning with my mental status. I have gotten enormous amounts of sleep and I no longer feel a bit dead. And yes, feeling a bit dead is worse than feeling all dead. Fall is happening as we speak, in this small corner of the world, and I am unreasonably happy. For me. Today. But who knows what the day will bring?

No therapist Vinnie this week, he's on vacation, so one of my anchors is gone. And, as I have noted before, all my teacher friends have gone back to school. But I believe I can coast on the yoga classes, Facebook, and the difference in the air.

I feel as if Summer has definitely spoken, and I am listening for a quieter voice. It's time to go listen to the cicadas...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Another Day in the Life

Even the unicorn meat eating cats are sleeping right now...

I went to an 'Arts Evening' yesterday at a friend's house; we'll call her the Saucy Brit and her husband, Tom Cat. I call her saucy because of her personality, and for her willingness to stand up to the Arts Powers that Be in the area.

As I have said before, I love hanging with worldly, or educated people. I'll take either. They relax me enough so that I don't usually commit the social faux pas to which my disabilities make me prone. I have actually gone into shock meeting people before, and the results can be disastrous. That's why I tell people I am a writer as soon as I meet them. They can chalk up that twitch to riotous living. I am particularly adept at funerals. More than once I have made a total ass of myself over a coffin, and now avoid them like the it were.

But last evening was dedicated to studying a few of Leonardo da Vinci's works. It was a great presentation by the moderator and the evening 'went well.' What is left of my social being sucked it up as hard as I could. I would spend all day, every day like that if I could.

The inner me: It was an evening watching the light filter through the curtains onto the face of a friend, Storm. We sent the cats, Emma and Portia, back and forth between us like we were playing a game of badminton. Tasty foods and wine (you know I drank the water) and every once in a while the entire crowd would drift out into the garden. At the end, people left like smoke dispersing, and what was left was a hard core group of chatty people enjoying the evening and being in each others company.

Every where I turned I felt nothing but acceptance. It is a rare enough experience in this chaotic world we all share. It's a world where even our proponents in the health professions call people like me  'a consumer.' It is Freedom.

And so my mouth moved, but I was struck speechless by this atmosphere maintained by the Saucy Brit and Tom Cat.  I haven't felt so talented and special since my mother died...

And they are back to the zinnia, and the lavender. Now the cats are awake, and want to hunt. Max is all for more sleep, hiding his eyes under the blanket. And my world contracts like a dying star, which has swollen to absorb all matter within it's reach, and now shrinks again, but sending out starlight all the same.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


It's a quiet morning in this small corner of the world. I had my PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) triggered on Wednesday, and yesterday was a day it took to get over it. A visit with a favorite professor friend, and a visit with a writer friend, and all my worries melted away.

Sometimes the zinnia and water can't do it all...I have to have reassuring contact. And my friends are all interesting. It's a very humbling experience having that many. Just as it's a humbling experience talking to you every morning.

Today, I have the riches of yet another visit and fruit and tea to look forward to. My tiny apartment will reflect the sunlight, and is bursting with a clean glow and the scent of candles. The walnut furniture has been waxed, and the pillows are plumped. A favorite picture, of my mother at 16, hangs in its mahogany frame which gleams with lemon oil. Other photos, of my brother and I in the wilds of Scotland, hang less grandly, but familiar. A sketch and a painting are nearby. The ironwood dolphin and the basket of marble eggs are older still and sit on the end tables, along with a wood carving of hands Beth gave me one year. And then there are the animal accessories...Max will leap around and one cat will hide and one will not; all is as it should be.

I wish you were here with me.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Quo Vadis?

The next four days are packed full of excitement for me...therapy, haircut, AA meetings; my life is a whirlwind. And so last night, when I told him of my plans, the kindly stepfather pouted. All that means to him is one there to listen or care or know if he decides to go outside or clean or eat. This is a very active man stuck in a chair for most of the hours of the day. I can only keep up with him when I am manic. And he doesn't understand all the other parts of bipolar: sleep.

I mean, going to a discussion of the Arts on Sunday, I don't know how I got into this dissolute life, but really!

I missed the Olympics last night, but got to bed at 9 AM and woke at 3 AM. I am still living my manic schedule in the hopes that the mania will be tempted, and come back. Tempting the Muse, as it were...

The blood work for Maxipad came back, and he is perfect, except that he has seizures. My vibrant, vigorous rescue has epilepsy. Which matters not a bit to me. He can accidentally pee on anything he wants and I will still love him wildly. I am turning into a human being after all...

The Fall of the year is coming quickly. I am sucking up all the summer I can to get me through a winter with no booze to make things interesting. The banana peppers did well this year, and the zinnia and the lavender and tomatoes. Fall used to remind me of the start of the school year. Now, it reminds me of a day in a special coffee shop, with the lemony light falling in through the windows, and the scent of cake and coffee surrounding me...

I have visits with friends to look forward to. All of my best friends are teachers and I am visiting with them all in turn before our life changes with the arrival of students. I always think there is something freudian about my choice of friends. In what part of my childhood did I pick up an attraction for those who teach? Not that I am complaining, but my life becomes very circumspect at this time of year. I need to branch out...

Until tomorrow. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Two biscotti, a brownie with ice cream, and a cup of coffee later and here I am again, with you. That's what I get for watching a bad movie and going to bed so early out of boredom.

The unicorn meat eating cats didn't go out yesterday; today, they are frantically chewing on the doorknob and tunneling through the wood. It doesn't matter that I keep the litter boxes empty and the cat bowl full...they want OUT. There are just too many interesting goings on outside. My apartment is small competition.

I figure that if I have to endure being bipolar, that I should get to be manic all the time. That's only fair, right? It's depression that makes me pay. Did you know that the number one reason for bipolars to go off their medication is that they like the effects of mania?

Ah, mania, my friend. With mania I am: brilliant, sexy, hip, on my way to the top and no one can stop me. I am a shooting star, designed by heaven to be the greatest wit on the planet since Oscar Wilde and Douglas Adams. Any day now, someone at Penguin Books will spot my blog, and offer me a hefty contract. I have a destiny. I am immortal.

But depression, or even the normal state that I am in right now. How boring and dull I feel. A loser who spends her nights smoking, eating, and drinking too much coffee. I face the blank page and feel no inspiration that will live for generations...I'm just a recovering drunk and my dog is a spaz.

True, I do have cats raised solely on unicorn meat, but from my death bed that looks like two expensive, picky cats.

The only thing that helps me live through the dullness is the thought that the pendulum will, one day, swing the other way.

And this is not to discard the effects of having another psychiatric disorder that I am not ready to tell you about yet. The stigma is that bad. When I was recently diagnosed with this other disorder, my therapist at the time told me the stigma is so widespread that even surveys of mental health specialists show that they have a negative viewpoint of it. And, no, I am not a sociopath, or a homicidal maniac, or any of those really nasty buggers you can't treat. I know this will be a relief for the classmates I will be meeting at my high school's 30th reunion.

Indeed, my new, wonderful therapist, is a specialist in my disorder. And, once again, I have yet another disorder that won't let me take any of the really good drugs. Talk therapy is the only thing that works. Or, if I wasn't in recovery, I could take the really good drugs. I can't win for losing...

Instead, today I am just myself, in this small corner of the world, flinging her voice out to you, as a star sends energy out to other, distant stars. And hoping some of the stars are thinking back to her...yes, I am like you..."To give off light, one must endure burning..."

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wait 5 Minutes

Max is resting comfortably by my feet, as always. Corgis really win in the faithfulness category; no wonder Queen Elizabeth has a lot of them. Someone to love her despite Charles' questionable taste in second wives...

The cats are staying in today, they just don't know it yet.

Either way, I am surrounded by their love this morning. And when Beth and Bubba came to visit, they thoughtfully bought me my favorite gourmet coffee, Tanzania. Every morning, as I am imbibing, I am sharing a special cup with them.

And peaches are in, don't forget the peaches. It truly is a special time of year when peaches come into harvest...they taste what a zinnia looks like.

One of my favorite subjects: Curiosity has landed on Mars. Good for Humanity! It gives me hope somehow that everything might turn out alright, when we have such dreamers and doers in our midst. Despite all evidence to the contrary, we may yet survive.

As you may be able to tell, I am clinging to my anti-depressant with all I've got. It's just the order of things, up, down, up, down. At least I have been resting the last two nights. And I'm not drinking, that always helps for those of my ilk. Otherwise I would be toasted at this hour and thinking about passing out. Which can be fun, but is very, very boring for those on the outside of it.

Although sleeping well, that is, not being manic, has its downside. I don't get much twilight time with you and my garden. And I don't feel particularly creative or brilliant. Not even a dull sparkle. But rather something moving in the mud, waiting to be born, alone and unattended by the gardener.

I might blog later today...cheers!

Monday, August 6, 2012


Max submitted to having his blood taken, but it looks like it might only be epilepsy. Until tomorrow...


The unicorn meat eating cats are out hunting...I thought I heard a neigh in the distance about 3 AM, but I wasn't ready to release them, so they lost out on that one. The dog, Max, is having seizures, so he goes to the vet today.

I woke up Saturday morning as he was peeing on me, huddled under the covers, where he was trying to hide from his affliction. It brought to mind a host of afflictions he could be suffering from. And for the very first time since my beloved service animal Eddie died, I realized I loved another dog.

I have had this corgi mix for about a year and a half, and, of course he is cute and amuses me. He was a rescue that a friend thought would be perfect for me. It was too soon after Eddie's passing though. I tolerated him, and he slowly learned to trust me. That's what touched me the most. It was pathetic watching him distrust the human in his life, he had been abused at some point, certainly.

Now he sleeps and breathes me; he is protective of his owner and tolerates my mood swings. He is used to running all day or sleeping all day, whatever I choose. So when I realized he could die, I also realized I don't want another dog. I love him. Wish us luck.

Update later.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


We sat on the porch last night and listened to the cicadas sing.

Which is to say, the dinner was marvelous. The wine and beer flowed and the dessert was divine. I wished again that I could drink, because the Sangria was Ellen's own concoction, but it would have taken several gallons to make me happy, so I enjoyed watching Beth and Bubba drink. And when our voices echoed to each other out of the twilight, we took our leave and made our way home.

I enjoy watching others drink but I don't enjoy watching someone get dead drunk in a solitary fashion, either alone or in a crowd. In other words, the way I used to drink.  The cicadas are still singing, and the cats are out hunting. The lavender bush is humming now, a deep bass to the zinnias' tenor. And you are here with me, in this twilight time, drinking your coffee and eating the biscotti I bought for you...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Crickets on the Fairground

Back to reality. The zinnia and the morning glories were glad enough to get the rain yesterday. And Mary and her family came over for a pool party. Swimming in the rain, while the sun is shining, is nothing to be sneezed at, in my opinion.

One of the unicorn meat eating cats loves company, and came out to be loved on. The other never saw daylight. The dog, Max, loves all those kids coming to visit him. I love all those kids coming to visit me.

But dear Mary: when you ask her over for dinner, she brings all the food and more. Just having her goddess like proportions to hug made my pulse slow. Now I know why ancient peoples depicted the Goddess with a large stomach and breasts. She is mother, she keeps fear at bay, she promises tomorrow and a successful hunt.

She was a good answer, life always is, to the anxiety that hovered over me all day, and eventually came to inhabit my body. It's like a storekeeper renting a space to sell his fresh produce. There is a calm, empty lot and presto! You turn around and all the other Bad Things That Happen to you have come to set their tents, too.

You look at their wares. You have mental illness; you have to. There is no choice involved. There is nothing particularly toothsome that you want to buy, but your body insists, like a thirsty child asking for water. You hear the far cry of the vendors you don't want to meet in the distance. "One drink won't hurt." "You can't handle this stress, take a pill, snort this, let's share this needle" later and all the work you and your therapist have done is gone. Like dust settling after a rain. 

You're left alone on the fairground, panting into the dirt.

I survived yesterday without a drink. That sanity didn't survive with me is not the point. My mind knows when to come and go. That's dissociation. It's a survival reflex, fight or flight, gone haywire. And all the therapy, the endless drills and tears, the careful building of networks, has paid off.

And you realize then that, despite the store owners' promises, there was nothing to really lose but yourself. That's the highest stake, the prize for a good fight. A storm of fear has left you alone, clinging to the earth, surrounded by the animals and the zinnia and the quiet dark. And this blank page.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Go for the Gold

I found out last night that the dog can reach the cat food. No wonder he's having stomach 'problems', to be delicate at this hour. And, of course, the cats want out, wildly. But I'm not done sleeping so they are trapped inside.

Drink because you are sad. Or drink because you are happy. Drink because it's raining and drink because the sun is out...And I know some of you are saying, "That's right, Alise. What's wrong with that?" Aaahh. If I could only drink like that! But that was a lifetime ago and may it remain in the past, already.

I'm not jealous. I remember the utter joy of drinking at 5 AM. That's the best time to drink. Particularly if you have a job, so you can make that all important first impression on your co-workers...well, maybe a little jealous. What's breakfast if you can't enjoy it twice? Always assuming you can get it down in the first place.

Now, you might think I am against drinking, since I can't, but you would be wrong. There's nothing I like better than to watch a group of adults get shit faced. Of course, going to an event that has some promise can fizzle, if it's one of those parties where everyone drinks one glass of wine after, or with, food. How utterly useless to drink one glass of wine.

No, no. You need at least three people getting snockered, to have fun at a party. One person getting drunk signals desperation, or some sort of insipid alcoholism. Two getting blitzed signals marriage or financial or child-rearing problems.

But three, now. If at least three people are getting hammered at a party, the evening holds promise. You can also get that fun dynamic going if you are serving Bloodies in the morning or early afternoon. Bloodies can be drunk at any time, and is a party lifesaver, if every one seems particularly dull before breakfast. After all, it can be counted as a food group if you factor in the tomato juice and the optional piece of celery. And the Tabasco and the pepper guarantees its acceptance as a food...

A Mimosa, fruit juice and champagne, is another good breakfast drink, but it's a bit half-hearted. It just doesn't carry the same punch as a good jigger of vodka. Champagne, as a drink, should be left to the grandparents of the newborn just so they don't go into cardiac arrest at the celebration. Or for their 50 wedding anniversary, with a tiny sliver of well-bleached cake.

Irish Whiskey, or coffee and whiskey, sounds like a breakfast drink, but it isn't. It's for rainy days stuck inside. And really, it's the only one of the above drinks that should be consumed with some form of tobacco. No one who uses tobacco as a "chew" need apply. Smoking is the combination that "makes" the experience of an Irish Whiskey.  Although chain smoking with a Bloody is protocol for some women who went to a private, woman's's a sport, really.

No, it's the solitary, lonely glass of wine that makes me insane. What in hell is your system going to do with one glass of wine? Why bother? Do it right, or don't go there in the first place, sugar lips.

And if you're pouring it down on top of food, just go and shoot yourself. No, alcohol is meant to be enjoyed in vast quantities, or not at all.  I would love to live in Russia; or, enjoy a shot of vodka every time you turn around. That's how to consume. It takes dedication, people. I know, I've been there.

And, curiously enough, it is the British who have perfected drinking like a sport: by horseback riding all day. "Following the hunt" is a good excuse to get toasted even before breakfast. And it's nothing to imbibe a cup of cheer if one has the handy flasks that make it all possible. Even "hill toppers", or spectators, drink heavily. That is dedication.

The closest Americans can get is the flask at an American football game on a starry evening. And we are so puritanical, we don't really enjoy it. Our beer is too weak to make much of an impression. Plus, with the prices you are paying, it's not really a choice. You would have to drink a case or more at top dollar, and then there is all that 'going to the bathroom'  business, as one is cold. And you're having it on top of the stadium hotdogs...

For some reason, my ancestors in Scotland  did not perfect drinking and sport. The Brits perfected drinking and moving at the same time. Brits think: "It's a sport, and it's supposed to be fun, right?" The Scots tend to drink after the sport (see Wikipedia's definition of golf), and never serve it with food. In fact, touring Scotland today generally entails going to one distillery after another. If you stay at the ubiquitous B & B's, you only have breakfast to slow you down. If you add food to the mix, not that anyone is eating, then it's an Irish event. In fact it's a stereotype, a body, food, and drink altogether, is a wake.

Well. Glad I could straighten out that national heritage thing for you there, now that the Olympics are in London. Here's to all the spectators who will come away with so much more than memories: a tattoo, extras on the credit card bill, and a few pints of Scottish whiskey to bring home...