What I’ve Done Recently

Hypomania, Self-Care, Success!

Frustrated, Defeated and Hypomanic

The weekend before last, I was frustrated, overwhelmed, feeling defeated, and mildly hypomanic.

I felt like a failure as a mother, for I hadn’t been able to get my son to take his high school equivalency exams. Told that I make it too easy for him to stay in his bedroom compounded my feeling of guilt.

How could I balance compassion for my son’s severe migraine pain and social anxiety with consequences that forced him to take more responsibility?

Repeated what I’ve told him before (without a hard date): He had to move forward – with school, with helping around the house, with addressing his anxiety, or with work – or he would have to move out.

Now that he’s a legal adult, we’re no longer legally obligated to house and feed him. We don’t intend to kick him out. But, he must move forward and take responsibility as an adult member of the household.

Provider Education, Take Two

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Orange County (NAMI OC) chapter asked me to retrain for the new two-day Provider Education curriculum.

I had served on the Provider Education team that first structured the five-week course content into a two-day format, and we had done it in two days numerous times.

Turns out the “new” curriculum varied very little from what we were teaching. By lunch on that Saturday, I lost my temper. I was insulted.

Explaining that I had a lot going on in my life (mother’s stroke, dad’s death, son’s anxiety), I left with the “new” two-day curriculum binder in hand.

Self-Care

After losing my temper at NAMI OC, I knew I needed a break to pull myself together and bring myself down from irritable hypomania before the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) Women’s Mental Health panel discussion on the following Tuesday.

How did I recover? I left. Booked myself into a hotel in La Jolla Sunday through Wednesday and relaxed. Not everyone can do this. I realize that. But, it’s cheaper than psychiatric hospitalization.

Women in Mental Health

On the International Bipolar Foundation’s Women’s Mental Health Panel, I represented the mature women living with bipolar. Mental health activist and actor, Claire Griffiths, represented the perspective of a teenager. Aubrey Good, the Social Media and Program Coordinator of IBPF, represented the young adult perspective.

I had a wonderful time meeting IBPF staff and volunteers and loved being a part of their panel discussion. I hope to do more public speaking events in the future.

Success!

When I returned home Wednesday, my son had showered, dressed, fed himself, and was ready to take his first high school equivalency test. He passed. I never doubted his ability to pass the test.

BIG DEAL: He overcame his anxiety and didn’t get a migraine. Two days later, he took the next test despite migraine symptoms. He took migraine and nausea medications and faced his fear. Again, he passed.

Two down. Two to go. Moving Forward.

Connecting with Online Friends in Real Life

This weekend, Sarah Fader came into town. She managed to connect with several mental health advocates and writers over the weekend.

Sunday, we met with:

I never would have tried to visit so many people in such a short time!

Mini-Family Reunion

Sunday night had the pleasure of meeting my uncle, two of my cousins, their spouses and kids in Anaheim. Family. Love. Great food. Fireworks in the sky. Thank you!

I CAN Do It

Lesson Learned: If I take care of myself, I can achieve more AND so can my son.

I Don’t Want to Write About #Suicide for #WorldSuicidePreventionDay

Do Not Want to Write About Suicide. Background image is chainlink fence with people playing basketball behind it

I don’t want to write about suicide
I don’t want the image of her
Clinging onto a chain link fence
Chef’s knife in hand
Chef’s knife inside of her
Looking through the chain link
At kids playing in the park
She mourned the loss of her son
She could not contain her grief
She could not hold on
She had other children
They no longer had a mother
My father no longer had a cousin
I no longer had a cousin once removed

When I was 18
I, too, wanted to kill myself
I thought the world
Better off without me
My family
Better off without me
The emotional pain
Unbearable
A living hell
But I didn’t kill myself
I sought help
I got help
But I was not a mother
Grieving the loss of her son


International Association for Suicide Prevention - September 10, 2017 - World Suicide Prevention Day - Take a minute, change a life.

World Suicide Prevention Day 2017

Barely Fiction: Kate.1

Kiss me, Kate? Good luck You cannot tame this shrew This woman of sometimes Violent temper and speech She remains wild and free At heart a non-conformist Pugnacious and proud

Her true and legal name is Kitt Kathleen O’Malley. She loves her name and is grateful her parents came up with it — a great stage name if there ever was one. Her first name is typically a nickname for Katherine or Kathleen, so her name is redundant.

She had thought that Katherine meant catharsis, or purification through emotional release, a meaning she’s always identified with. Now that she researches her name, the etymology is unclear, perhaps originating with the goddess Hecate.

Hecate (Hekate) is a goddess of Greek mythology who was capable of both good and evil. [Metaphor for bipolar diagnosis?] She was especially associated with witchcraft, magic, the Moon, doorways, and creatures of the night such as hell-hounds and ghosts. [Who knew?] She is often depicted carrying a torch to remind of her connection with the night and in sculpture with three faces, representing her role as the guardian of crossroads. [Interesting…]

– Hecate by  & [Bracketed writing by Kitt]

Anyway, yes, she openly expresses strong emotions, perhaps less so now that she’s medicated for bipolar disorder. She remains theatrical, loving attention and being on stage. She’s also a Leo, so add that to the mixture.

For this piece of flash fiction, she’ll go by Kate. Why? Because she named this piece Kate before she started writing and because it ties into the “Kiss me, Kate?” poem which ensues. Is she a shrew, a woman of violent temper and speech? At times she has been, but she hasn’t overthrown a table in over a year or two (she just did that once). She has been known to throw adult temper tantrums. Something she’s not proud of. Luckily her meds and psychotherapy help her keep an even keel.

Kiss me, Kate?
Good luck
You cannot tame this shrew
This woman of sometimes
Violent temper and speech
She remains wild and free
At heart a non-conformist
Pugnacious and proud

Writing in third person, as true or as outlandish as she pleases, taking liberties with the facts, perhaps this will grow into an autobiographical novel. More likely than not, these words will remain here as a flash and then die the death of so many other blog posts, lost over a relatively short time period to the archives.

Talking to Yourself in the Third Person Can Help You Control Stressful EmotionsMSU Today. July 26, 2017.
Third-person self-talk facilitates emotion regulation without engaging cognitive control: Converging evidence from ERP and fMRIScientific Reports 7. Article number: 4519(2017). doi:10.1038/s41598-017-04047-3.

 

Verbal Non-Verbal

verbal

Sometimes, I’m verbal
The words rush
They press
They insist on getting out of my head
They keep me awake at night
Unless I shut them up
Turn them off with meds

Sometimes, though,
I’m simply not
Sometimes, I’m non-verbal
The words are not there
I do jigsaw puzzles
Watch TV
Play with numbers
Rather than words

When the words fly
They are raucous
Noisily filling my mind
Needing to get out
I need relief
So, I write

Then, I must get
The racing commentary
Out of my mind
Onto the screen or paper
In black and white
Where later I reshape them
Edit them into something coherent

Perhaps
Or, perhaps,
Sometimes, I leave them
In a jumbled mess
All over the page