Published and Promoting! Plus, a Prize Contest!!!!

Solipsism: (noun) The belief that all reality is just one’s own imagining of reality, and that one’s self is the only thing that exists. 1871, coined from Latin solus, “alone”

I have been published! Solipsist, my collection of confessional poetry, is now available on Amazon and Kindle!

book

***SHARE ON WORDPRESS THIS WEEK FOR A CHANCE TO WIN GIFTCARDS TO BARNES AND NOBLE, COFFEE BEAN, AND MORE!!!
I will be sending out thank you gifts to randomly selected WordPressers who share my book on their blog! Please be sure to link lazarusandlithium.com so I can include you in the prize selection! I will be sending the gifts on Friday, January 8th, so please make sure you share and link my blog before then!***

For those of you that don’t follow this blog, in 2010, I hit rock bottom. After struggling with crippling depression throughout my adolescence and heavy drug addiction, I attempted suicide. Thankfully, it wasn’t my time to leave. It has been an uphill battle towards recovery ever since. Every day I needed to make a conscious decision to hang on and get better. Slowly, with the love and support from my family and friends, I began to rehabilitate spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I am very grateful to say that I have been sober (and plan to be!) from the drug that had nearly destroyed me.

Through my arduous recovery process, I had turned to writing for healing. These poems that I have published in Solipsist were deliberately handpicked, as each one was written during a crucial point in my therapy. They are raw, unfiltered. I understand that some of them can be hard to read. They are difficult to share.

So, why open up to the world? Unfortunately, suicide is such a stigmatized topic in our society, along with mental health. I painfully remember not wanting to reach out for help for this very specific reason. All too often, people who are struggling with the above mentioned are labeled as “weak” and “attention seeking.” Then, when someone we love takes their own life, we wonder why we never saw the signs.

I lived through my experiences and I know that my purpose is to spread awareness. If I am able to save one life, my purpose is fulfilled.
That being said, I am VERY excited about my first published book. I am inviting you all to share this moment with me!

 

In dedication to:

American Foundation of Suicide Prevention
https://www.afsp.org/

The Trevor Project- providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.
http://www.thetrevorproject.org/

RAINN- Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network
https://www.rainn.org
Thank you all in advance!!
Laz

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DBSA and a Glass of Moscato

Well, something absolutely incredible happened.

I decided to take myself to a Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) group last night. I’m very happy I did. Everyone was so welcoming and they LISTENED. The group leader used to be in the Church of Scientology, which I found to be quite amazing. I felt like I truly belonged in that group. 

2 hours later, I left group therapy and returned home. My grandmother and aunt were home as usual. I happily sat at the dining room table (mostly because the air conditioning was blowing right now me) and I picked up my DID book. 

After about an hour or so after I got home, my aunt began to iron some of her clothes next to the table. We were on the topic of Scientology for some reason. I told her about the guy I had met in group therapy earlier that afternoon. She perked up and asked me, “Why are you in group therapy?”

Just a reminder- I have not talked to my aunt in YEARS. Sure, we exchange polite hellos and awkward smiles. We have NEVER had an in depth conversation; never mind that she’s my godmother. 

Just hours before this moment, I had been sitting in a room with fellow bipolarneers, spilling out all of my hurt because I felt like a prisoner at home. I had to keep my mental health under wraps because no one has ever cared to listen to me in the family. No one has ever validated my depression. They had just summed it up to angst and poor behaviour. At least, in my own opinion.

I’ve never seen my aunt perk up this excitedly. I told her I was in group therapy to manage my depression and bipolar disorder. She stopped ironing, actually LOOKED at me and said, “Yeah, I have major depressive disorder.” 

I knew my aunt was depressed and I knew she was on medication. I suppose that A) it was never talked about and B) WE especially didn’t talk about it ever because we didn’t talk in general.

I told her about my outpatient treatment I received not too long ago. She asked me if I have ever considered medication. I told her I’m on Lithium. She hurried off to the bedroom and brought back a pill bottle with her.

Celexa. She’s also taking tranquilizers.

We talked a little bit more about our depression, and my grandma also listened…which was a big deal for me. There was no judgement. No one made it this huge deal. My grandma said, “Well, for me, prayer is my therapy…and my father always told me that sometimes people talk to themselves because there isn’t anyone more intelligent around them. So I talk to myself all the time.” We all shared in a laugh.

Then, my aunt scurried to the kitchen. She called me to come open her wine bottle. I poured her a usual glass, small. She laughed and said, “Well I’m going to need more than that!” 

She was actually talking to me. It was as if the veil of bullshit lifted off and we both understood and empathized with one another. Sure, there’s a lot more to absolve and work out. But this was a HUGE breakthrough. 

Even my grandma had a glass of wine, which is completely out of her character. It was surreal. But I loved it. What a wonderful relief it was.

I had finished reading my DID sourcebook. Today, I’m planning on bringing some ideas to the system. There were some awesome, workable tips I read about, and I’m looking forward to implenting them. 

On a sidenote, I barely slept at all last night. I’m feeling alright. I think it was just a bit of insomnia.

Hell is a Place Full of Uneducated Psychiatrists

Oh, have I got a story to tell you.

Firstly, my anxiety and symptoms came to climax yesterday. I have been feeling chest pains- more specifically, it feels like sharp pains centered around my heart- for the past 2-3 weeks or so. Yesterday, the pain became consistent and was accompanied with numbs fingertips, tingly lips, and dizziness. I was alarmed, but even more so alarmed because I was withdrawing off of the lithium.

So, we journeyed to the Urgent Care by work. They couldn’t really do anything, so they sent me to the Emergency Room. I checked in there and long story short, they told me my symptoms were just a manifestation of bad anxiety. I was relieved, yet my inner hypochondriac wanted to scream, “But! It’s my heart! I think! Am I really okay?!?! Are you sure?!?!?”

They gave me a dosage of lithium and sent me on my way. I began to feel better an hour and half later.

Now, I had my first psychiatrist appointment yesterday evening. I left work, arrived at my destination early, filled out all of my paperwork, and waited. I waited for 45 minutes. Alright. I’m just going to bullet point all the STUPID AS FUCK things my psychiatrist said. I was livid.

This is during the initial interview. I filled out all the relevant information (suicide attempts, family history, abuse, trauma, drug use, diagnoses, etc..)

• She asked me, “Tell me about your suicide attempts, how did you do them?” I told about the first time and when I came around to the second attempt, I said, “Well, I tried to jump off of a building…” She promptly dropped her pen and asked dumbfoundedly, “Why would you do that?” (Insert uncomfortable blinking here) “Why would you try to jump off a building?”
• She noticed my scribbled in heroin history in my drug use summary. She said, “So you grew up with mom and dad and saw them doing it so you just thought it was okay?” No, bitch, my dad COMMITTED SUICIDE and my mom ABANDONED ME so I didn’t get the basic privilege of watching them shoot up while I was enjoying an edge-of-your-seat episode of Blue’s Clues.
• She asked me what my official diagnoses was at the hospital. I told her it was Schizoaffective. BRACE YOURSELES. She said, “That can’t be right. You don’t look to me like someone who is schizoaffective.

You must have PTSD.” Are you kidding me? I don’t look like someone who has Schizoaffective…I’ve never in my life….well, actually no that’s not true. Kayden, where are you? You mentioned this happening to you, too. But oh my dear Christ on a sunflower, I’ve never heard anything more unprofessional.
• She was reluctant to write me a prescription because she didn’t feel she should be giving me medication for PTSD, but because I was in the damn emergency room yesterday, she wrote me a script.
• She asked me if I was sexually active and use protection. I said yes I am but I’ve been with a girl, so I’m not getting pregnant anytime soon. She got quiet and said half under her breath, “Oh…so homosexual…”
• THEN, at the end of awful experience, she was mid-sentence talking to me as her eyes widened and she exclaimed, “OH! I have another appointment. Oh no! Is she here?” She whips around in her chair, glances at her calendar and she said, “Oh! She’s here already! Here, sign these…” She rushed me through some paperwork and my script. I waited for 45 minutes AND my appointment was cut short.

At least I got what I needed. I have my prescriptions and that’s what matters. But oh my god…

Psychiatrist from hell.

  
It’s 5:52 am. I woke up about 50 minutes ago, washed up, prayed, meditated and watched the sun come up.

My body is tired and I look beaten. I shook through the night in wet sheets from my sweat. The hallucinations became malicious and frightening. Im nauseated and weak. I didn’t think withdrawals would be this intense? I 900mgs of lithium and 75 of seroquel? Does that sound accurate?

Last night I decided to get out of the house and go to trivia with my cousin and his friends. It was fun and was a great distraction. I rocked at the Ancient Gods portion of trivia. *dusts shoulder*

Tomorrow is my psych appointment, thank god. My hands are still shaky. I guess it also doesn’t help that I’m also menstruating, now that I think about it. I’ve always had a super hard time with my cycles. 

Looking towards another long day. Hoping for some relief. 

The Weathered Rescuer

3rd therapy appointment. It was alright. It felt pretty unproductive to be honest. I didn’t know where to start, continue, or end. I blabbed uncomfortably about my family, my dad, my cousin….etc. I did, however, come to the realization that I am VERY detached from not only my past trauma, but reality in general. I’m apprehensive about therapy because I’m terrified of digging into myself and restoring those memories.

Before this, we had gone to the laundromat. I wasn’t totally there, either. I constantly feel that my wherewithal is a red balloon and I am holding on to the string. The balloon is tugging away from my grasp in every which way, and I have to keep re-tying the ribbon to my wrist.

Laundry, appointment, then we went to the mental hospital where I was enrolled in the out patient program(s). I have yet to find a new psychiatrist and I have about 3 days left on my medication. I’m getting a little anxious about the medication aspect….

But hey!!!!! Guess what!!!!! I got a new car!!!!!! YESSSSS!!!! This is my first car ever and I’m so damn excited. So, my mood has been outstanding considering the recent changes and such. Yes yes yes. Adulthood.

I’m bracing myself for this week. I have some bills I need to pay, I need a refill on my lithium badly and my seroquel, and I need to start learning to not freak out whenever I sleep in my bed alone. Baby steps. Growing pains. It’s going to be okay.

I start reading the book, The Magic Daughter, and I can already relate to her. She says that her selves were there to protect her, and from them she learned great lessons and talents. It’s very interesting.

That’s all I could tell my therapist today. “It’s interesting.” This, of course, is in regards to my dissociation in general. I don’t how to feel about it. I don’t know how to personally react to the fact that Goldie came out to her and her roommates. I really don’t. I told my therapist that I almost feel guilty, embarrassed, because I don’t want other people to view me as weak. I don’t want my girlfriend to see Goldie and think that I was too weak that I couldn’t even handle being in the moment.

I guess I’m still trying to wrap my head around all of this, blah, blah, blah. I’m feeling introverted. Even though I have been able to keep it together relatively well, I still feel something inside of me cracking. I feel fragile, vulnerable, terrified, and fragmented. I don’t know what to expect from meeting my child self, repairing the hurt and heartbreak…

World Bipolar Day- Questionnaire

In honor of World Bipolar Day, I encourage those of you living with bipolar to answer the following questionnaire to help raise awareness.

You can also nominate some bipolar bloggers to join in!

1. What does bipolar disorder mean to you?

2. What was your life like before you were diagnosed with bipolar disorder? 

3. How old were you when you were diagnosed?

4. How do you manage your symptoms?

5. What is life like for you now?

6. Has having bipolar disorder affected your friendships, personal life, or professional life?

7. How do you think society treats people with a mental illness, especially bipolar disorder?

8. Have you ever felt discriminated against or looked poorly on because of bipolar disorder?

9. Do you have any words of advice for people in the world suffering with bipolar disorder, or other mental illness?

I’ll answer the questions:

1. What does bipolar disorder mean to you? Bipolar is a manic-depressive illness, meaning I could be totally happy in 2012, but hello depression in 2013 from fucking January to July. There are people with rapid cycling which means they can wake up feeling that they are going to off themselves, but 4 hours later they are ecstatic. It’s awful, it’s emotionally painful and draining, and……ugh.

2. What was your life like before you were diagnosed with bipolar disorder? All over the place. My family didn’t know what was wrong with me. But there was something very obviously wrong with me. My grandma actually thought I was possessed.

3. How old were you when you were diagnosed? I was 16 when I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type I

4. How do you manage your symptoms? Now, I’m taking medication. Before the meds, I would self medicate via alcohol and drugs.

5. What is life like for you now? It’s been getting better, slowly but surely. I’m still adjusting to my medication, Lithium 900 mg, and Seroquel to treat the Schizo- side of my diagnoses.

6. Has having bipolar disorder affected your friendships, personal life, or professional life? Yes, always, forever. I’m convinced it will perpetually affect all relationships and work. I’ve lost friends over my mental health, I’ve lost significant others. It’s very difficult to function with a job sometimes. Fuck, just getting out of bed is an achievement all on its own.

7. How do you think society treats people with a mental illness, especially bipolar disorder? Shittily. I think we can all agree that there is a fuck ton of stigma associated with any kind of mental illness. Depression, not so much. Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia? Lot’s of stigma. I honestly believe that people equate schizophrenia to homeless people and war vets, unfortunately. Society also likes to accuse us of using our illnesses to justify getting out of trouble, and/or “off the hook.” In reality, this isn’t the case at all. I’ve never met anyone with a true mental illness to ever use it as an excuse. If anything, they work really hard to not make their illness visible. It’s the goddamn malingerers that fuck it up for the rest of us.

8. Have you ever felt discriminated against or looked poorly on because of bipolar disorder? Yes. Not just for being bipolar, but for depression specifically. Some days I just honestly cannot pull myself together. I’ve been called lazy and half-assed more than I’d like to believe. The laziness is not lazy, it’s just that in my sheets, I feel almost dead- a feeling I quite fancy sometimes. Scattered isn’t being scattered, it’s that sometimes the voices get so loud, my concentration goes out the window and there you go!

9. Do you have any words of advice for people in the world suffering with bipolar disorder, or other mental illness? Hang in there, toots. It will get better. It will get shitty again, but it’ll get better. You’re not alone. Look at March 30th! You’ve- we’ve- got a whole day to cheer together. We are awesome.

blahpolar , bipolarme ,notsosecretlife , moodymandy Come on, it’ll be fun!

Goldie and Micah’s Anathema

I haven’t been on in a few days- I have lots of comments to answer to!

Firstly, thank you for the birthday wishes, everyone! I had a fantastic day. I binged on Netflix whilst wearing my PJs and snacking. Allie hung out with me on my birthday throughout the day. Then, I went to my girlfriend’s house and spent much needed quality time with her. It was absolutely the perfect ending to my birthday.

On Sunday…I didn’t do much. Allie was chattery and all over the place. I felt as if she was pin balling everywhere, with all kinds of ideas and thoughts. I couldn’t contain her. Then, she reminded me of Micah’s foreboding anathema, and my stomach cramped. He had so graciously given me “50 days left,” and now those 50 days are done on March 26th.

Therefore, my anxiety has been all over the boards.

I’ve been queasy, sometimes unable to hold even water down. Last night, I hardly slept, being awoken by my own nightmares, then another episode startled me. I’ll get to that in one second.

Monday I had group. It was a bit emotionally arduous- not only for myself, but because I’ve developed an empathetic connection to these people and when they hurt, I hurt. It sounds selfish to say it, but I relate to one of the girls so well, I lost myself to my own painful memories yesterday.

During group, my therapist asked me if I heard voices. I said yes. Then, she asked me if they were ever religious- which was relevant to the group conversation. I said yes and proceeded to tell her about this one very awful entity. This is a story for another time. All you need to know is his initial begins with H, and he is one million times worse than M. He manifested from an obsession I had with the ouija board. I swore to myself I would never say his name aloud. Yet, I did. And he appeared. He’s with me now, draining my life force away from me.

Also, something else happened over the weekend that kind of hit a nerve. A very sensitive, touchy nerve and it sent me spinning through my own head. So, during group, I processed about how I felt as if I am unloveable “forever.” In my personal opinion, I think people fall in love with me quickly because I’m interesting. They’re fascinated with my fucked up mentality…but soon they realize that I’m batshit, and that I’m work. I’m hard work. Whether or not this statement is true is irrelevant, because due to said circumstance, a little piece of my heart irreparably scintillated and seared on Sunday.

And surprise, a new one introduced herself to me. Her name is Goldie. She’s a tough cookie. Allie brought her in as a reinforcement, because she’s worried. Allie has also brought back Celia as my “emotional accountant.”

Last night, through my nightmares and all, I woke up, and realized I was standing in front of my body mirror, conversing with Goldie. She spoke through me in her badass Jersey accent. She put me to bed when she realized I was awake, and told me not to worry about it anymore.

My girlfriend was scared because the other night, Allie spoke to her for a split second through me. I think I just let her slip out.

She’s been talking to me a lot, along with Allie, and now Celia is here, asking questions. I feel that I am losing my grip on reality, slowly. Which is fucked up because tomorrow is my LAST day at the hospital. I’m not ready. I need help. I’m slipping and I don’t want to admit because c’mon: all this time, after the meds, after therapy, I’m still not better?

I know this sounds stupid, but I feel possessed. I hate it.

I’m Still Alive! and Lithium Sucks

I bumped up my meds last night. Woke up at 2 am, after a gnarly dream I had, and threw up a few times.

I dreamt that I knew I was still alive, but I was just asleep. So, I tried to kill myself in the dream. Then, someone stopped me. When I woke up, I had this nasty feeling of, “Why the fuck am I still here?” It’s the feeling you have after a failed suicide attempt. At least, it was familiar to me.

The person who saved me in my dream then texted me promptly when I woke up, “Are you awake?”

I called my doctor in the afternoon about it. She instructed me to only take 600mg instead of 900 tonight, just until she can run my blood levels. I felt really woozy all day. My appetite is gone, I’m impatient, and I can’t concentrate on anything. It’s all really stupid.

In other news, I’m feeling slightly more alive today. The perpetuating melancholy was still soggy on my clothes, my skin. Yet, I found that ultimately, I could stay alive today. Which, I guess is better than flirting with oblivion. Yesterday afternoon, I spent 3 hours huddled in a ball underneath my covers- 80 degrees in the room, beads of sweat collecting all over my body. Normally, I wouldn’t be able to breathe. But I just lied there, softly inhaling, letting time wash over me like tepid bathwater.

My boss kept pulling me into for impromptu team powwows. As he recited his orders, his thoughts, and opinions, the running commentary in my mind bellowed, “None of this matters. This is all make-believe-bullshit. Why don’t you see how badly I’m hurting? I want to die.”

Sob-fest. Please, somebody give me a hand off of my soapbox.

It then occurred to me that my last IOP day is on Wednesday…I better have a therapist by then, because I don’t know how much longer I can hang on without a professional.

Anyhoo, I hope everyone else is having a better day! I’d love to hear about some good news.

Thank You’s and Candy Tantrums

First, thank you for reading my blog- even when it gets really morbid and morose. Thanks for those of you who support me and help me through the ugly periods.

I did relapse on the opiates… not enough to get super high. But, it was a relapse nonetheless. I was able to pull myself together, thanks to my good friend beansycheese. Thank you for being there for me, even though you don’t need to be. I don’t think you realize how your words impacted me in the best way!

Blahpolar as well, I just want to let you know I think you’re a real rad blogger, and thanks for always having great advice for me.

Anyhoo, today was my first full day back at work. I had a fairly productive day. I kept having cravings all morning long- glancing at the desk cleaner. Alas, I didn’t even touch the can. Progress, they’d say.

I’m still a little shaky and foggy. Emotionally, I’m doing better- at least, depression wise. I’m having incredible mood swings. When I was first put on lithium 7 years ago, I remember intense angry episodes. I was so aggressive and had an almost nonexistent fuse.

Fast forward to my nearly 23-year-old self, dosed up with said Rx, I’m experiencing the same damn tantrums. I get so furious for no apparent reason. Today, I cried because I wanted candy. CANDY.

God bless America.

I’m excited to go to groups tomorrow. I really missed it today. It sounds funny, but I really missed checking in, listening to everyone, socializing, and just being there.

Lazarusandlithium.com, Day 1 of IOP

100 followers!!!

I’ve hit 100 followers! Oh, this makes me so excited! You all are so awesome! 🙂 Thanks for the follow.

In honor of this occasion, I have registered my domain name as lazarusandlithium.com

Just when I thought the Seroquel was doing more damage than good, the hallucinations have stopped!! I had ZERO hallucinations yesterday! So far so good this morning. *does happy dance* AND the depression has been minimal. I feel as if I’m leveling out. I haven’t been on for the past couple of days, so I’ll try to update you on the key points…

Day 7 of Partial Hospitalization

Thursday was hard for me. I did feel depressed, albeit not as gnarly as usual. I felt very out of it. I was shaky, I felt fuzzy, and had a lot of passive suicidal ideation that scared me. I had a nightmare about Morris that really triggered paranoia and whatnot.  It was my last day for PHP, so I had minimal anxiety about starting the Intensive  Outpatient Program (IOP). I didn’t feel ready to step down; however, due to work purposes and finances, I needed to step down.  So, all in all, tough day. I got to see my lovely girl friend, though, so that made up for it!

Day 1 of Intensive Outpatient

It went well yesterday! Like I said, no hallucinations. DIfferent group, different schedule, but I loved it. My days now are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

I was really shaky yesterday, and I fell in a store. I called my doctor and she said it was just low blood pressure. Today I feel much, much better!

I’m not really in the mood to write an extensive entry, so that’s what I’ve got!

Cheers.