Archive for the ‘Buzzkill’ Tag

THE BIPOLAR PERSPECTIVE: YOU CAN LEAD A DEPRESSED PERSON TO WATER…   7 comments

Cracking the Window

Everybody has a different way of asking for help.  I have Bipolar II, with an extra serving of depression.  So when I am down so low I cannot take life anymore, I try to give it back with an overdose of my medications and as much Vodka as my body can absorb before I lose consciousness.  But no matter how many pills and how much Vodka I’ve ingested, I have still not been able to permanently put myself out of my misery.  There is no doubt at that moment in time I sincerely want to kill myself.  However, by not swallowing the entire contents of my medicine cabinet straight off, which for sure would bring about my demise, I leave the window open a crack with a parting call to my psychologist triggering an onslaught of help.  Could it be that I’d rather wake up feeling sick to my stomach six hours later than remaining unconscious feeling nothing six feet under?

Calling All Cars

The other day I was on Facebook and noticed a message from an old acquaintance.  He actually sent it out as a general notice to all his friends.  He explained he was feeling intense anxiety, depression and having trouble functioning.  He had an appointment with a doctor, but was extremely afraid of having to take medication.  I thought it was somewhat strange he was “calling all cars” about his mental condition. Most people are very private about it.  I was so intensely secretive I wrote a book about my experiences (BUZZKILL) using my real name.  My friend was obviously a mental illness novice.  He had not yet learned how to make the dramatic cry for help by at least threatening to jump from something.

Don’t Buy Generics

The last time I checked my friend had forty-one responses from some very well-meaning people.  But when you boiled it down they all had the same advice; “Hang in there.  Things will get better over time.  I’ll pray for you.”  Irrespective of the stupid simplicity of their remarks, it was amazing they all basically offered the same generic response.  And, not one person mentioned psychiatric help and medication, which my friend stated he was especially nervous about.  It reminded me of someone telling a little kid they are going to the circus, when they are really going to get a rabies shot.  And the “I’ll pray for you?”  Why not just say, “I’ll waste some time talking to myself about you instead of talking to you.”  Here was a true cry for help and in return came the off the shelf generic “You’ll be O.K.”  What these people don’t realize is that depression is life threatening, not to be thwarted with a pep talk like before the big homecoming football game.

Go With a Name Brand

Being depressed and despondent is about as real as it gets.  So I decided to “keep it real” and reach out with some useful “Name Brand Advice” via email.  After all, I suffered from depression and anxiety most of my life. Who better to advise him than an individual who will actually address his concerns.  So, I told my friend I have Bipolar Illness, which he may or may not have.  But I know well the anxiety and severe depression that goes with it.  I urged him to find a doctor who listens to him and what he could expect from medication, if in fact recommended.  Also, I suggested he read my book because it specifically addresses his concerns. Moreover, I asked him to purchase five copies and bill it through his insurance.  Lastly, I offered to meet with him anytime he needed to talk.   He thanked me.  Why not?  I’m a name brand lunatic.

Diarrhea of the Email

Then I let loose a torrent of emails also to help my friend.  I talked about medication side effects, finding the right doctor and coming with me to my support group for those who suffer from depression, anxiety and or Bipolar Illness.  Each time he thanked me, but never took me up on an offer.  Was I getting too involved?  Did he not know me well enough to open up?  Was I scaring him?  Was he afraid of turning out like me?  Did he want me to shut the fuck up with my “diarrhea of the email” advice?  My mother used to beat a subject to death so badly that if it was health related, it would cure itself by the intermission.  Was I becoming my mother?  I checked my head for electrodes.

Walk Away Renee

I finally decided enough was enough with the emails and to leave my friend alone.  Walk away Renee.  He knows what I have to offer and if he needs me I’m sure he’ll get in contact.  Sometimes when we are Bipolar and find someone who is in similar pain, although undiagnosed, we will do anything to bring assistance.  We identify with their struggle.  But at a certain point that individual has to reciprocate by reaching out.  You cannot force help down a person’s throat.  All you can do is throw them a life-preserver and see if they take it.  If not, let them find their own way.  I hear a good chiropractor can cure just about anything. Maybe my friend isn’t ready to come to terms with the possibility of needing psychiatric help?  I know when I took my first handful of psychotropic medication (in the prescribed amount), I felt the stigma of being a mental patient as if I was punched in the gut.  I was actually disappointed in myself for being so feeble!

Billboards and Bus-Backs

I was beginning to feel like a social marketer for the American Psychiatric Association.   Or, a Bipolar Recruiting Agent scouting out depressed people for a Bipolar diagnosis. Nonetheless, I have to be satisfied with having done my very best to help, and leave it at that.  Offering too much help can be just as bad as doing none at all.  Maybe I should cancel the billboards and bus-backs with my friend’s name on them, urging him to go to the emergency room if his depression gets worse.

You Can Lead a Depressed Person to Water…

Just like I have always subconsciously cracked the window during a suicide attempt, I realized my friend is doing the same with his mass email.  He made his cry for help.  Although not suicidal, he left an opening for someone to rescue him.  However, I can’t fit through it.  Maybe I represent too much reality?  Whatever the issue, I hope someone can breach the barrier.  And I have to be satisfied that I tried to offer assistance.  It’s really up to him to accept it.  As they say, you can lead a depressed person water, but you can’t make them see a shrink.

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The Bipolar Perspective: Liberalism is a Mental Illness   2 comments

I DO IT TO MYSELF

Nothing is more frustrating than to spend a couple of days in a ultra conservative chat room debating US politics.  Actually, you aren’t really debating anything.   You’re just reading the most twisted viewpoints you’ve every heard outside of an institution for the criminally insane.  No matter what you say, they can quote figures from obscure ultra right wing conservative web sites run by grown men who refer to liberals as “libby libs” or “demmy dems.”  It’s a third grade mentality from those who rode to school on the short bus.

But I put myself in that chat group.  At first it was just to hear other viewpoints.  I like to vigorously debate politics.  But then came the hostility for anybody who isn’t paranoid the liberal government is out to control their lives and that god will seek revenge on them, peppered with slurs against gays and inferences of prejudice against blacks.   And I have to admit, I gave it back to them and then some.   When you are talking to a bunch of rednecks in the swamps of Florida and the underbelly of Texas, there is tons of great fodder to hurl back.  It almost seemed unfair because all they could think to call me was a fag, homo and “Petey.”

OBAMA’S ULTIMATE SOLUTION

Eventually I stopped with the insult-fest and everyone else followed suit, to the best of their sophomoric abilities.   I have to admit, I made nice, threw around a few veiled compliments and semi-agreed on a several borderline lucid arguments.   I wanted to hear more of this gibberish.   It was so grotesquely absurd I couldn’t stay away from it.   It’s like a bad car wreck you can’t help looking at on the side of the road.

Basically, their distilled argument is that “President Obama wants to increase the amount of people on welfare so he’ll have a bigger voter base dependent on him via entitlements (conservative code word for “free stuff” from the government). Then, he will change campaign term limits and continue his reign of “king.”  That is the bitter syrup of the conservative venom toward Obama.

The details may differ a little, depending the conservative, like “Obama just hates America and wants to destroy it,”  or, “he is in a secret alliance with the Muslims and he wants to force the country to worship Islam.”  All of these late night radio talk show caller conservatives are never at a loss for these far fetched seizmic scenarios.

LIBERALISM IS A MENTAL ILLNESS

“I’m a dunce and piece of shit.”  At least so I’ve been told by the moderator of this chat group. He’s an Orthodox Christian in Wichita Kansas who threatened to “cut me down like a stalk of wheat” because I commented that he does not even read the plethora of right wing propaganda he so virally posts.  He just slaps it up there.   I think that’s the real definition of a dunce.

Moreover, he also held the contention liberalism is a mental illness.   Now on this I am an expert.  I’m Bipolar II. I know what it is to suffer from deep depression, exhaustive mania and the two mixed together.  Bipolar is mental illness.  Liberalism is political philosophy.

THE BIPOLAR CONNECTION

What set my head a reelin’ is that the moderater later posted a sort of apology t.  He explained he was recently diagnosed with Bipolar Illness and is trying to control it without medication.   Apparently he is having difficulty controlling is anger.  I salute him for his honesty.

Ironically, he has no idea I authored “Buzzkill,” One Man’s Disorderly Struggle with Bipolar Disorder in 2011.   I was sure Bipolar Illness would be ridiculed by conservatives as god’s punishment for liberals, in spite of the fact a disease is politically neutral.  I wanted to extend my support to him as a lifetime sufferer, but I find it hard to believe he’d accept help from a liberal.

Ironically, up until now, unless your employer offers insurance, someone with Bipolar Disorder can not get insured.   Obama care will allow people with pre-existing conditions, like Bipolar Disorder, to get affordable insurance for the first time ever.  I wonder how this newly diagnosed Bipolar conservative will turn this around to be a negative?

WELCOME COMRADE

Obamacare.  The big bad government option.  I get chills every time I think of a poor family being able to get affordable health insurance so they can save a little more from each pay check.  This could keep some get off government assistance.  However, it would also ruin the ultra conservative argument that we are becoming a communists nation through socialized medicine.

Well then welcome Comrade!  First Mitt Romney turned Massachusetts communist with Romneycare, and now the entire county is doing it with Obmamcare.   The chat group said the rest of the United States are going to fall like dominos under communist rule.  Personally I am already being sized for a fur hat before there is a run on them.

Romney really fucked up in Massachusetts.  He did something people liked.  And now Obama is bringing it to the entire nation.  Now it’s a bad thing.   No matter what the President does he can not win with the conservatives.

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS

The last thing I learned being in this ultra conservative chat room is that when all else fails and you can’t make your point, just say “It’s gods will.”   One hollow headed woman in the group who usually just quotes scripture  and thinks “grits are yummy,” also said “Jesus is pissed.  He ain’t no baby anymore and he’s mad. He’s going to get the liberals and good.”

When did Jesus turn god’s son into a Hell’s Angel?  I must have missed that sermon.   With all this talk of Texas seceding from the United States I’ve been up all night celebrating with the rest of the country.  I’d actually like the President to put them on a time-table.  It would be like getting rid of a wicked case of hemorrhoids.

THE FINAL CONFUSION

As a Bipolar Disorder sufferer there is always the temptation to go manic on these misguided political and religious narrow minded misanthropes.   Either that or they can make you completely depressed to live in a world with human beings that are so completely irrational and warped.  You must keep your head and remain logical.  Better yet, just ignore them as the fearful, hateful narrow-minded walking contradictions that they are.  Do not let them be your trigger.   You can not win an argument with irrational fear-mongers.

If everyone in this world agreed it would be a very boring existence.   I thrive on diversity and spirited debate.   Some of the best ideas are born of compromise.   And if you don’t have the capacity to admit you are not always right,  you belong on the right.   They are never wrong.   Just ask one.

Mental Illness Mother Goose   Leave a comment

It was around 1pm this past Saturday night.  All the bars were starting to close on Haight Street in San Francisco.  After drinking probably more beer than I should, I had to pee very badly.  Recently when the urge hits me, I have to go with the urgency of a Hungarian plow mule.  I was having a miserable time with the woman I was curating, partially because she was wearing a ridiculous disguise dressed as a man and also was combative about everything I said.  So when we got outside I told her I was going to have a problem if I didn’t pee, cut across the street to a dark vestibule and discretely took care of business.  When I turned back around she was gone.  I felt relieved in more ways than one. And, I inadvertently joined the ranks of millions who urinated in the doorways and alleys of the Haight Ashbury section of San Francisco since the mid 1960’s.

Who was this girl and why was I out with her?  She had a made up name and lived in a world with one toe in reality and the rest in a world of constant conflict.  I met her at a party my roommate threw in a rare instance without her disguise.   But I quickly learned about the man trying to break into her apartment wanting to murder her, the detective telling her to be vigilant and paranoid, the barricading of herself for weeks at a time inside her apartment,  not being able to maintain friendships, her confrontational nature and distrust of everyone.  On top of it all she was a self-proclaimed clairvoyant and you could not ask her questions about herself without provoking her wrath.  Not even what she does or doesn’t do for a living.

But she read my book Buzzkill and I know some of my Bipolar trials and tribulations touched her in a “better him than me” kind of way.   And she took joy in speaking with me about my hospitalizations and medications as it made her feel like she escaped getting caught in a bear trap and was free to slink around Nottingham Woods.  Maybe occasionally even pop up to the highway and nibble on some fresh road kill.

It is very clear she has a serious disorder that affects her perception of reality making her extremely combative and afraid.  And I was informed by others that she constantly spoke of my issues with Bipolar illness taken from my book ad-infinitum trying to rally support for her theory that I was a danger to society.   Up until then I didn’t realize my blogs were that bad.

So why in the world did I go out with her?  Because she asked me to.  And I had this ridiculous notion maybe I could convince her to trust me and get her some help.  Underneath the baseball hat, sunglasses at night and ill fitting mens clothing was hidden a very attractive smart woman.   I decided not to take her behavior personally and get her to at least entertain the idea I could be of assistance.  Maybe get her to a doctor for an evaluation.  Visit her in the hospital, because for sure she would be admitted. Probably by ambulance with flashing lights and a police escort while strapped to a gurney.

However the evening was a bust.  Everything I said caused nonsensical argumentative responses.  It became very evident she was experiencing a different reality than  I.  And, that I couldn’t just simply reason with her, nor could she comprehend reality, was bewildering.  The sad part is she was convinced of being the only sane person in the room. However I started to feel anger from the cumulative effect of all the abuse I had taken that evening.  I was reprimanded for complimenting her on her jewelry, her disguise, commenting on the bad service at a wine bar and on and on.

Bipolar people do not live in a separate reality from the rest of the world. Sometimes we have trouble dealing with the existing reality, but it’s the same as everyone else’s.  Our lives are spent constantly striving to negotiate it as best we can.  And because we have had our deep depressions, unbearable anxieties, visits to the psyche ward and times of great despair, we try and “mother goose” others we see in trouble.  But when the mind has an altered reality, a few kind words and some insight can’t make it right.   It’s like the sun.  You can protect yourself with sunscreen or sitting under an umbrella, but you can’t make it stop burning.

Sadly, as of last night, this woman was still texting me about the night before, amending it with details I’m sure she thinks are accurate.  And I had to realize I can not help and told her to go back into Nottingham Woods because if she continued to harass me I’d call the big bear with the straight jacket and 51/50 paperwork.

I can not fix this one.   Was it my mania making me think I could?  Is it even my responsibility?  If someone is shooting at you do you walk into the line of fire to tell them to stop, or do you take refuge somewhere safe until they run out of bullets?  This woman never even stops to reload.

In some morbid way it was interesting getting to know an individual crazier than myself.   It’s like being a rubbernecker passing a really bad car accident.  You know it’s wrong to look, but you just can’t help yourself.  And then when you see the bloody carnage, you beat yourself up because you can’t get the image out of your head.

Is It Your Bipolar Disease or Mine?   Leave a comment

This is going to be a personal blog.  That’s why I am putting it online.  So nobody can read it.  Actually, it’s a blog about something in my life I’ve had to come to terms with, but I think it has relevance to others who have a story to tell about their experiences with Bipolar Disease.

Earlier this year I published my first book entitled Buzzkill.  It’s the story of my very disorderly struggle with Bipolar Disorder.  I tried to write it a year or two earlier and it just wasn’t working.  There was no flow nor was it the least bit compelling.  Kind of like a Daniel Steele novel.  And then one day it hit me;  I wasn’t being true to myself or potential readers.  To really tell the tale, I had to rip open my entire life with a scalpel, gut it and lay the steaming innards out on a stainless steel coroner’s table in their full rancid glory for all to read.   And when I began writing and started feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable with my prose, I knew I had begun writing the book I intended. Then the words began to flow like hot molten lava from a big dormant volcano that waited 45 years to blow its load.

Buzzkill is about my lifelong struggle with depression, mania, hypomania, suicidal attempts, hospitalizations, medications and all of the situations that arose from my erratic behavior.  Among other things, I talk about the sexual side effects from anti-depressants leaving me with absolutely no sensation in my genitals, the humiliation of being in a locked mental ward, the shrinks who almost killed me and the times I tried to kill myself.  I described wild manic buying sprees and the financial disasters that ensued along with mismatched lovers and relationships gone terribly awry.  The bottom line is that no matter how humiliating, I made it real for my readers.  I wanted to reach inside them, grab hold of their most traumatic embarrassing Bipolar experiences and say, “It’s all right.  Me too friend.”

Here in lies the problem; Nobody lives in a vacuum.  Other people were part of my life experience.  Parents, friends, doctors… They all played a role in my life.  Some of them had their own issues and were antagonists.  Some were protagonists.  And, certain characters were neither good or bad, just too damn interesting to leave out.  However you could not understand my life without discussing their lives.  Many of these people will not appreciate my portrayal of them, regardless of its truthfulness.   They will develop tunnel vision and see Buzzkill as a book all about them.  They will gloss right over the parts where I’m sitting in an emergency room being forced to drink charcoal and throwing it up all over myself.  Or, getting physically thrown out of a classroom in third grade as I was unable to control my emotional outbursts.  All that matters is I wrote “they had a nagging voice like a goat.”

No matter how big of an earthquake ensues, I told my story as it happened to me.  I make no apologies.  If I censored myself Buzzkill wouldn’t be the book I intended and certainly not worth reading.  Nobody wants to read another 300 pages of watered down drivel about coping with Bipolar Illness written by some Phd. with a pipe stuck up his ass.

The lesson learned is that we all have to be true to ourselves as Bipolar individuals.  It’s our duty to tell our stories so we can help others like us feel more comfortable with their challenges.  We can not hold back because we are afraid of the truth starting an uncontrollable wildfire.  We do not start the fires, it’s the people with blinders on who don’t want to see the truth that slash and burn.  And if you are not up to telling your story, that’s ok too.  Not everyone is required to walk on the hot coals.  Because I don’t care what anyone says, no matter how righteous of a person you are, they still burn the shit out of your feet.

Sunday Kind of Blues   Leave a comment

I’m sitting here in a local San Francisco coffee shop, which is how most San Franciscans spend their days.  Everybody is busily working on business plans for new start-ups or milling around outside on their cell phones trying to convince venture capitalists to fund their new ventures.  The problem is about 3% of these nonsensical deals actually come to fruition and even fewer actually survive the first two years.  But everyone wants to jump on the get rich quick technology bandwagon.  I prefer to call it a hayride.

I’m even embarrassed to say I had a partner and we drank the micro-brew Kool-Aide too, which was all the rage, back in the late 1990’s.  Unfortunately, my partner had an aversion to making money, I bailed out and he floundered around by himself for awhile and then moved out of the area.  But we could have had something.  It was my big chance at making a serious nest egg.  Instead the hen just farted.

So, I’ll share with you today that I am a little depressed.  However I think it’s more  situational than chemical. I’m sad at 46 years old that with all the things I know how to do, I have never done anything exceptional.  I’ve done a lot of good things, but nothing that I feel will leave a mark that says “Peter Goodman was here” after I am gone. Except, for the circular water stain on the coffee table I left from putting my drink down without a coaster.

Could it be my mood stabilizers kicking in just making sure I feel neither good or bad and just exist in a quagmire of nothingness? Mine keep me in limbo from feeling excitement or despair, in this military “no fly zone” where nothing ever touches me.  They are always there to remind me how much I don’t feel, never even giving me 15 minutes for a mental coffee break.

In all my star studded brilliance I decided to sleep all weekend.  Sleeping is something we bipolars are really good at.  I wish being a good sleeper could help me leave my mark on the world. “God, that Peter Goodman wasn’t much of a guy when he was awake, but boy could that motherfucker sleep.  We’ll never see a sleeper like that again in our lifetime!”

I was already literally sick and tired when Friday rolled around.  And when my girlfriend decided to start in on me about so something ridiculous only her mind could conjure, I decided to go for a world record.  I went to bed and didn’t get out until late Sunday morning.

I love sleeping and disconnecting from my bipolar tormented mind.  I don’t know what it’s doing when we are not together, but at least I don’t have to deal with it.  It probably goes out to get a burger and a beer and then picks up hookers at the adult movie theater.

Actually, sleep has become my new therapy.  If I don’t want to deal with something, I just go home, get in bed and go to sleep.   I’m not talking about work issues or being a father to my daughter.  I’m referring to problems with my relationship, getting a speeding ticket, owing a lot in taxes, etc.  And as soon as I put my head down on that pillow and trail off to sweet slumber, I am free.

I often wonder if this is the effect people are trying for when they commit suicide?  The mindlessness of being permanently unconscious.  I have tried to do away with myself before.  And I can not promise I won’t do it again.  What people do not understand is the constant distress of the bipolar mind.  The depression, sadness and disconnection from the world and everyone in it is unbearable.  And if someone is at the point where they can not stand one more minute of it and medications, electroshock and therapy have proven benign, I believe they have the right to end it.

People do not ask to be born, and certainly not bipolar.  If they want to leave this world it should be on their own terms.  I am not advocating suicide, but I am not going to put a pad lock on the door.  And of course I don’t think it should be a rash decision.  But in the end it’s our decision.

So if you are having a hard day today making sense of it all and questioning what you are doing here, you are not alone.  I am right here with you in the blogesphere.  And if you are looking for a reason to get up tomorrow morning, do it because you might make a difference in someone’s life and without you it never would have happened.  Also, just maybe something good will happen to you.  The odds are a lot better than winning the Lottery.

The other reason to slog onward is because you still can make change in your own life. Get out of that awful living situation.  Find a better job.  Get a better shrink.  Change your meds.  Set something positive in motion and give yourself something to look forward too.  Kick those mood stabilizers in the ass and say “Not today, I’m making a change in my life and you aren’t going to sabotage my motivation.”  Then press the “override” button.  You know, the one between your…. Uh, you know where it is.

And of course always feel free to blog back at me.  I read everything and answer back if requested.  I’m not a doctor and have no psychotherapy credentials.  I’m just a guy who cares about other people with Bipolar Illness and those who love them.