Archive for the ‘bipolars’ Tag

THE BIPOLAR PERSPECTIVE: TENANTS OF OUR MIND   Leave a comment

PLEASE RE-LEASE ME

Only flush the toilet once a day to save water. Use a lighter to save matches if things get a little ripe. No shoes on the dingy dark stained electric blue carpet that used to be a birthing mat. No pets unless you plan on eating them. And, first month’s, last month’s rent and a hefty security deposit in case you fart into the only pillow case on the couch that still has stuffing. But the location is great so you sign the lease. And you re-sign others just like it because you have no choice if you don’t want to live under a bridge out of a shopping cart.

VIRGIN

I think I bleed a little on my sheets my first night in my lease and security deposit free apartment. My new roommate collected the rent and on top of everything else, the price was right. The problem was, her head wasn’t. She’d pry into my life with the finesse of Ethel Merman and then spend the rest of her day screaming into the speaker on her i-Phone walking around the house, sitting on the bowl or death-marching her little seventeen-year old dog around the neighborhood talking shit about me to anyone who would listen. She even accused me of stealing from envelopes filled with cash left unattended on our San Francisco doorstep in exchange for the nasty pot she was peddling. This seed and stem salad actually made cancer patients sicker.

TENANT OF MY MIND

Little did I know, just leaving Mama Trauma, a name that accurately depicted my 70 plus year old roommate, would not be the end of my tenancy with her. Next, she would be moving in with me… Actually, into my head. Because the flurry of nasty accusatory texting that went back and forth for almost two days was irresistible. As a writer and knowing her weaknesses, I was monomaniacal and relentless exposing her faults and then dancing on them. But what I didn’t count on was that although her allegations were preposterous to anyone with a lick of common sense, they still infuriated me. And long after the emails stopped, I was unable to cease fuming. My former landlord had become my tenant now… A tenant of my bipolar mind. And Mama Trauma wasn’t paying me a dime.

IT ISN’T FARE

It seems bizarre when you think about it, but when you despise, hate or are angered by someone, that resentment stays in your head rent free. Wouldn’t it be great if the Sheriff could just staple an eviction notice to your face and the eye of your ire would be out in thirty-days? I’m here to tell you that when you are bipolar, not only does this person have free rent in your cranium, but because of the illness they constantly torment you, reminding you of their presence. The impulse to over-analyze a compulsive thought to make everything alright in your world is overpowering, and you desperately seek a solution to stop the pain. It just isn’t fair for someone to be residing in your head without paying the fare.

THE FIGHT YOU CAN NEVER WIN

I have thought about starting in again with my old roommate and “finishing her off” for good. Pick back up on blasting her via email. A call to the housing authority, building owner and the police would probably put her out on the street. And, Mama Trauma is out of my head… But it doesn’t work that way. Then the guilt for ruining her life would consume me. With Bipolar Illness, there are no quick fixes. Then guilt-ridden regret starts marching in.

EVICTION, NOT CONVICTION

It doesn’t matter if one day the entire world knows you were right and they were wrong. If you are Bipolar, your landlord is still your tenant living rent-free in your head. You have to evict them, not convict them, to get them out and stop the gnawing on your cerebral cortex like an appetizer. And the first step to freedom is realizing this truth.

MIND CONTROL

If we Bipolars could control our minds, we probably wouldn’t be Bipolar. But we can manipulate aspects of it. I have decided unless Mama Trauma does something to cause me harm, she can no longer take up space in my mind. Dropping more bombs only means she isn’t gone yet. So I keep reminding myself it’s over and “Mama has left the brain.” It’s not quite that easy, but if every time I think of her I decide not to give her the satisfaction of living free in me, it almost feels good to let her go. Like I can use that space for something else more worthy. Like the lady who texted right into the back of my car at fifty miles per hour

LAST BUT NOT LEASE

So before you let someone take up space in your head, have them “sign a lease” and pay rent. A “lease” is your judgement that this person is worthy of occupying a place in your mind. And the “rent” is the joy they bring you by their presence. Because once you let someone take up residence in your head at no charge, it’s really hard to get them out.

Advertisements

In Bipolar We Trust   Leave a comment

Dealer:  “Hello, Car Dealer.”

Man:  “Yes, I’d like to bring my car in for service.  Do you have time available this week?”

Dealer:  “We do, but how do I know you are going to show up?”

Man:  “Because I want to get my car serviced.”

Dealer:  “Did you buy it here?”

Man:  “Yes.”

Dealer:  “Give me a minute.  I need to confirm that.”

Man:  “Can I please just schedule a service?”

Dealer:  “Is this your first service with this vehicle?”

Man:  “Yes.”

Dealer:  “You must pre-pay.”

Man:  “How do I know the cost without it being looked at?

Dealer:  “How do I know without pre-paying you’ll show up for your appointment?”

Man:  “Because my car needs service and I bought it from you.”

Dealer:  “Computer is down.  I can’t confirm that.  Call back tomorrow.”

Trust.  It’s one of the most important words in the English language.  Without it society ceases to function.  And in general the majority of people in the world are trustworthy.  But there are enough degenerates out there to ruin it for us all.

The car dealer example is a little extreme. But it’s not too far off the mark.  Most businesses will not take a personal check because they don’t trust you not to bounce it on them.  Hotels want your credit card number when you arrive just in case you decide to check out without paying.  Clothes in decent stores are hooked to the racks with alarmed wires because they are afraid you’ll steal them.  Even in Walgreens Pharmacy you can not get an electric toothbrush head without someone unlocking the cabinet.  Who in  the hell is going to steal a plastic electric tooth brush head?  Are we a society of thieves that will steal anything not nailed down, whether or not we need it?

However, we need trust to survive.  You have to trust the babysitter with which you leave your kids, or else you’ll never get out of the house.  You need faith that the item you bought and paid for on eBay is going to arrive as ordered.  And, when you sit down to eat at a nice restaurant, nobody does a credit check to see if you will be able to pay for the meal.

Trust is even more important to someone suffering from Bipolar Illness.  This is probably because everything about the illness and its treatments have a plethora of ways to present itself in each individual.  Consequently, a Bipolar person can not trust that the drug regiment that worked on their best friend will work for them.  And, that they will experience the same side effects to the same magnitude.  When it comes to treating Bipolar, even the doctors don’t make definitive statements.

But Bipolar people have to trust something.  Otherwise our lives will be in constant chaos.  We’d all be seeking different treatments, if any at all.  The majority of us would be in the throes of mania or in the deep dark bowels of depression.  So, we put our trust in our psychiatrists.   They are educated and know more about Bipolar Illness and its treatments than anyone else we have access to.  We trust them to guide us down the path to a better quality of life by learning how to best manage our illness.  We know the going can be rough until we find the right medication(s).  But, we trust the doctor to get us through it.

Bipolars also need to be able to trust people.   They need friends who will show up when they said they will for coffee.  Significant others who won’t forget to stop by the pharmacy after work to pick up your medications.  A Bipolar Support Group where you can freely talk about your issues to others going through the same trials and tribulations.  Whether they know about your illness or not, you need people who “have your back.”  In return, you must do your part and “have their back.”

A Bipolar twenty-something I wrote about once before in a Bipolar Support Group I attended took this “got your back” thing a little too far.  He has a Bipolar friend who was very depressed and cancelled plans with him several times.  The friend even told him about his depression being why he cancelled.  The guy in my support group was so disgusted he cut his ties with this person.  He said he was undependable, couldn’t be trusted and was lazy.  You’d think being Bipolar himself he’d be more understanding.  But he put himself on a pedestal for Bipolar achievement because he does not lie in bed all day.  I was pretty disgusted and asked him if he was so wonderful why was he still on state disability and not working?  He looked like someone just gave him a spoonful of motor oil.   His argument was crushed.

There are a lot of  mean people out there.  A judgmental, vindictive and belittling person can come into your life with a smile and warm handshake.  But so can an empathetic, generous and loyal friend.  For this reason never stop your quest for trust.  Exercise it whenever you can.  Trusting people often attracts other likeminded trusting individuals.  If you are Bipolar you can never have a big enough circle of friends.  And if you pick up a rotten apple, enroll them in one of Oprah Winfrey’s “Life Classes” on her OWN Network.  I heard she has an episode coming up called “I Know Nothing About Life.  Why Am I Giving Classes?”

Internet Pornography: Use Your Head   1 comment

The other night I found myself out of 25mg Topamax tablets.  I take 125mg in the morning and at bedtime as a mood stabilizer.  So I used a pill cutter to quarter a 100mg pill and more or less jerry-rigged the right dosage.  When you’ve been bipolar as long as I have been, you learn to improvise.

Well that protective covering on pills is there for a reason.  I woke up around 3am with my esophagus burning and the sensation spreading like a heat wave across my chest giving me horrific heartburn. When I stood up to go into the bathroom so did the contents of my stomach.  It’s like there was a wide open freeway between my stomach and mouth and not a toll booth in sight.  I felt like I just had the Imperial Indian Buffet and washed it down with a glass of whole whipping cream straight out of the container to achieve this level of heartburn and acid reflux.

Needless to say I stayed home from work that day.  And like any intelligent professional, I spent the afternoon looking at porn on the internet.  Obviously I’ve already seen some of it, but I never really crawled into the dark alleys and under the bar-stools before.  The thing that struck me is just how predatory in nature it is.

Of course, logging on is your decision.  But there is an amazing plethora of sites to connect with women who want sex in your area, sites to view and chat live with women, sites for married people to discreetly meet other frustrated souls for sex, sites to satisfy any fetish under the sun, sites for fetishes that haven’t even become fetishized yet, and hundreds of sites to get an escort to a hotel room within an hour.   You can have college girls, MILFS, cougars, dominatrixes…. Anything you want right there for the pickin’ if you have a cell phone and credit card.

And all of  the sites have free trial offers with features so limited the horny can barely enter their credit card numbers fast enough to become full members.  Most sites out of kindness keep automatically charging you monthly so your membership will never run out.  However trying to get someone on the phone to cancel is harder than finding a good restaurant in Dayton, Ohio.

Personally, I love how the porn industry has made the internet their home.  I remember the days of seedy adult bookstore like shacks set back from the road with gravel parking lots where customers never made eye contact. Also, there was the risk of embarrassment being seen in the adult section of your neighborhood video store by someone you know.   It even took guts to buy a Playboy at a Seven-Eleven when I was coming of age in the late 70’s.  I would have rather tried to buy beer and cigarettes.  Getting busted was far less humiliating.

But the internet gives you complete privacy to wallow in your fetishes. It even offers live video striptease where you run the show making the girl do anything you desire. You almost expect her hand to reach through your computer screen and grab your crotch.  Although it hasn’t ever happened as far as I know,  many of the girls are only too happy to meet later for a drink.

Theoretically the internet has given voyeurs the best quality and most choices of porn the world has ever seen.  And perverts are a small segment of the audience.  Everybody gets horny or curious and takes a peek at one time or another.  It’s human nature.  But if you are a bipolar male, and I am speaking to you as one, internet porn can make you obsessed.  Since we all often suffer from some degree of obsessive compulsive disorder, or are frequently looking for distractions to take our minds off of our undesirable mental states, it’s easy to get sucked into this world of free trial memberships, escorts just waiting for your call, married but horny sites filled with frustrated women who are dying to meet you and swingers and sex clubs which can make all your hidden desires come true.

Internet porn is addictive and it never sleeps.  And except for the really raunchy things, I liked it all to some degree.  But I also see my bipolar side becoming obsessed with it.  Some of the sites are so sophisticated you can talk live in a private session with a naked girl. Subconsciously I thought the longer I stayed online the greater my chances.  Chances of what? I had no idea.  Maybe there is a naked girl lurking out there in cyberspace waiting for me.

This was the beginning of classic Obsessive Compulsive Behavior.  If I had not been consciously looking for how and why it kicks in with internet porn, I might have become a customer.  And of course I made a conscious effort not to let it run my life by becoming an addiction.  I headed it off at the pass.  The problem is a bipolar male unaware of internet porn’s power to become another manifestation of his OCD can get sucked in with ease.

I’m a 46 year old heterosexual male.  I like to look at naked women and those in sexy lingerie.  I am very careful not to spend an inordinate amount of time online looking.  I think most bipolar men feel the same way I do and have a modicum of self control not to let it run their lives.  Online porn is not the problem, it’s people who can not  make it fit proportionally into their lives.  Porn just happens to be the catalyst.  But you can just substitute obsessive hand-washing for internet porn and you see the same behavior pattern.  Bipolars have to be vigilant not to become addicted.

I also see too much pornography having an emotional downside.  It makes women look less like people and more like objects men use for sexual gratification.  Moreover, many of these women are sex professionals, so when a spouse or a girlfriend can’t perform at their level, or won’t recreate specific scenarios, it can cause problems in the relationship.

Unfortunately, I am not able to speak about bipolar women and their usage of internet pornography.  However, if in the comment box women would like to write about their experiences, thoughts and concerns on the subject, I’d be more than happy to post them for all to read.

In conclusion, remember that sex and being bipolar can be a very tenuous combination.  Even the most self aware regarding their Bipolar Illness are still affected by hormones to which they have little to no control over.  When common sense might tell you enough internet porn for the day, your penis is telling you just a few more pictures or movies.  The feeling of excitement is overpowering.  And when the little head is talking, the big head isn’t listening.  And that is exactly why the internet porn industry has become so successful; guys can’t resist the excitement and keep coming back for more.

So, as a bipolar man, I say enjoy the pornography the internet has to offer.  Just understand the mechanics of your mind and don’t let it become an obsession.  It’s not a particularly savory one.  Nobody ever says, “Yeah, Bill is a great guy.  Did you know he spends five hours a day looking at internet porn?  He’s really committed.  I don’t know how he manages it with a family and part time job.”

Bipolars and Burning Bridges   2 comments

I am the king of burning bridges.   Put me in a situation, have someone do me wrong, and I’ll launch a cruise missile at them that could turn the Bay Bridge into a seven mile piece of frayed rope connecting San Francisco to Oakland.  I’m not talking about someone stepping on my foot by accident.  I’m talking about the time a company came to fix my kitchen cabinetry and the owner grabbed and kissed my girlfriend in the parking garage when I wasn’t around, then denied it.   Or when an acquaintance was supposed to watch our dogs for the weekend never showed up. Upon return our apartment looked like a giant un-flushed toilet bowl, smelled like a men’s room in a Greyhound Bus Station and the dogs were gnawing on furniture for nourishment.  However, he did take the two-hundred and fifty dollars we paid him in advance.

And, the cruise missel is usually in the form of a venomous voice mail, a hot tempered email or a no-turning-back text message.  But even if they really are rotten people, when I take a step back I always feel I was too harsh, escalating the situation and wishing I had thought about it a little longer before I hit the “send” button.  Even after I have made the mistake of reacting too soon  hundreds of times in my life, like a compulsive Black Jack gambler, I keep asking the dealer to hit me when I’m holding two face cards hoping for an ace.

But what is that ace for which I am looking?  Is the recipient of my snide comments or email rants, no matter how justified, going to suddenly see the light and make nice too me?  Are we going to sit on the floor and play paddy-cake?  Face it, if I we ever cross paths, I’m the one who is going to feel like I just got stuck in an elevator with my ex-father in law.

If you are bipolar and have been going off half-cocked all your life, even when justified to later regret it, you are not alone.  I have spoken with many fellow bipolar illness sufferers who have the exact same issue.  My belief is that we feel things on a much deeper level than normal people as we have a higher consciousness of our emotions.   Our psyches are more delicate, and when something happens making us feel happy, excited, angry, unjustly wronged, sad, etc., we sense it more strongly and more immediately.  If it’s anger or  injustice, we as bipolars tend to act quickly because we want to resolve the negative emotion.  We want the sadness to go away and not become a trigger causing a major episode.

The solution doesn’t involve air guns and paint balls being shot from a moving vehicle.   Simply give yourself a cooling off period before you react.  Set an arbitrary period of a time, like a half hour.  Try and think about sending or leaving that message and how you would feel if you ran into this person the next day.  Also, is this person a bridge you want to burn?  If you tell your male-chauvinist supervisor he’s a freak and quit, you are decimating your chances for a good relationship with the company as a whole? Worse yet, what if you end up working with this person again at another place of employment?  That’s enough to justify an extra Xanax for first day jitters.  Chances are if you really think it over, you’ll use a more tempered approach.

A few weeks ago I was driving home in thick downtown rush hour traffic.  I couldn’t find a good song on the radio, my “low fuel” light went on and a fax machine kept redialing my cell phone and blasting me through my speakers.  All of a sudden a banged-up maroon mini-van battering-ram darted out of a parking space and cut in front of me, causing me to slam on my breaks.  I almost hit the guy.  Then he darted up the street and pulled into another space.  My heart was in my throat.  I took a deep breath.  “What a fucking idiot.”

I drove a little further and the same mini-van pulls out of its new spot and cuts in front of me, almost causing me to hit him again!  I was furious.  Now, I am not a confrontational person.  I was the kid who covered up every time my grade school friends threw fake punches at me.  However I lept out of my car, leaving it idling in traffic like a car thieve’s wet dream, went up to the mini-van and tried to pull the driver door open to verbally assault the terrified diver.  When he frantically locked the door I pounded on the window until it fell off the track and into the door.  When the middle aged bespectacled driver started yelling for help, I realized I was committing a crime, was hit by a lighting bolt of common sense and ran back to my car.  And the very worst part? Traffic patterns forced me behind this guy all the way back to my obscure neighborhood, on the complete other side of the city.  We practically lived next to one another!

It’s likely I will see the maroon mini-van again.  And, I am the one who blew up.   I am the one who will feel shame when he points me out to his children and says “Stay away from people like that.  He’s a bad man.”  I doubt the guy even knows he cut me off twice.  Worse yet, he could have had me arrested for attempted battery and property damage.  For the rest of the evening all I could do was marvel at my stupidity.   I had never done anything like that in my life.  And now the consequences made me feel like a criminal on the lam.   I kept waiting for the cops to kick down my door with the min-van driver in tow yelling and pointing at me sitting on the couch in my underwear, “That’s him!.  That’s him!”

At 46 I’m just learning the lesson of not burning bridges.  As bipolar individuals, I think we have it a little harder because our emotions get the best of us and weaken our impulse control.  So we have to be extra vigilant when it comes to letting things “marinate” before we serve them up.  Because once that bridge is on fire, it’s virtually impossible to put it out.  And the last thing you want are people saying, “Oh, he’s bipolar.  Just ignore whatever he says.  He’s not right.”   Then it doesn’t matter what you say, nobody listens at all.