Wednesday, January 22, 2014


*snort, gasp, cough*

Don't you wish you could have some of these Z's?


You think you're safe, all tucked away in your room.
When your mind closes in around you with quickening doom.
Wild eyed and frantic, you see what draws near.
The only sound is the voice whispering in your ear.
"Stop it," you mumble, hoping it heard.
"No," it responds, just one simple word.
"Go away," you state, a bit louder now.
"I don't want to," it says. Now you're having a cow.
"LEAVE ME ALONE," you shout; this time it should go.
"But I can't," it replies, in matter of fact tone.
"I am you, and you are me. I'm the voice inside your head, you see."
"You're nothing like me," you cry, thinking all hope is lost.
"I'll stay with you," it says, "No matter what, at all cost."
You scream and you cry. You cry and you scream.
Hoping beyond hope that this is all but a dream.
As you look in the mirror you see a faint flicker of hope.
If you take those pills the doctor gave you, hey it's better than dope.
As they take their time to work their way 'round, your eyelids get heavy.
They fall down, down, down.
You lay your head softly on the pillow, it's sleep that you seek.
Before consciousness leaves you, you begin to speak.
"Go away you big piece of shit. If you're here in the morning, I'll kick your ass then."
"No you won't, kid. I'll see you in the morning, at 10."

Monday, October 14, 2013

Skeletons in the closet......

   Oh, we all have at least one skeleton in the closet.  That one thing that we feel NO ONE should know, for it would destroy people and what they think of us, or just flat out destroy them mentally or psychologically.

   And it's about time I came clean with the skeletons in my closet.  I've been holding it in for a while now, and when ya'll read it, some of you may actually think, "Well, that's not huge."  But it is to me.  In many ways, in fact.  Some of my more immediate, important family & friends know my secret, but not everyone.  And it's something that's sort of shaped who I've become in the last 2 years.

  It was the morning of December 15th, 2011, the day after my 37th birthday.  I was sitting at the kitchen table at my mom & dad's house eating breakfast cereal when my mom came in and asked me if I had a minute to talk to her.

   With a mouthful of food, I motioned to her to sit next to me, and she then proceeded to tell me a story straight out of a fucking daytime soap opera.  The man I knew as my father, in fact, wasn't.  He assumed the role of my father after my mother had been raped, beaten and threatened with her life if she didn't terminate her pregnancy.  My "sperm donor " was a drunk, and his family proceeded to extend his threat if she didn't "take care of it."  After cleaning up the miniature mess I made from dropping my spoon back into the bowl and my mouth dropping open, I, of course, began to ask questions in rapid fire succession.

   My mother, to this day, refuses to tell me his name.  But she did go on to say that the man is now dead, the victim of his own drunken driving mistake, but not before he took others with him.  The whole kicker of the story is that he died in Colorado in 2009.  I was living in Colorado, in the Denver area from 1998 until 2007.  And I was living in Nebraska from mid-July 2007 to February 2011.  Denver was only a four hour drive from where I was at the time of his death.

   Naturally devastated, I begged my mother to say this was all untrue, that it was a joke, and that this couldn't be happening.  The look on her face told me that sadly, it was true.

   I didn't want to believe her.  I mean she's told me stories before, but this one, obviously took the cake.  This was just another bullshit tale in order to "keep me in line."  Unfortunately, the look in her eyes, and the way she was conducting herself told me that not only was this sordid tale true, but it had a purpose.

   "I just couldn't live another holiday without you knowing the truth," she said to me, as she closed the distance between us to give me a hug.  I was too numb to remember whether or not I returned her embrace, but I do remember telling her that the man that sleeps down the hall, as far as I was concerned, was my real dad.

   Hell, they even lied at the hospital so that his name is listed on my birth certificate.  So as far as the rest of the family knows, I'm my dad's daughter.  Everyone except, my "brother."  I use quotation marks because at this point, I consider him to be my half-brother, since we both have different fathers.  Apparently, many moons ago, my mother and the Monster half-brother, had a huge argument in which he called our mother a "fucking whore."  She then told him MY dirty little secret.

   To say that I was pissed beyond belief is a minor understatement.  We never really had the best of relationships growing up as kids, even less so after he sexually assaulted me when we were teens.  So this information just made it all the more surreal.  It was another piece of vital information that mattered to me that he knew well before I did.  The first one was when Mom & Dad put our German Shepherd, Susie, down after 14 years.  Mom told the Monster, and he helped her take the dog to the vet that day, and no one bothered to tell me until after the deed was done.  Oh, I was crushed.  It felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach.

   And it was the same feeling 20 years later, when Mom told me that I wasn't really related to the man I identified as my dad.

   Now, I told you all of that, to set the stage for what follows.

   I've been trying since then, to figure out who the hell my sperm donor is.  With the help of modern science, DNA records should be able to prove who the beast was that raped, beat and threatened the one person I thought was in my corner my entire life.

   And I phrase it that way for a reason.  SHE is one of the biggest naysayers in my life right now that says mental illness is something that doctors and insurance companies have made up in order to get more money.  My dad is the other.

   I can't remember if it was last week or the week before, but mom and I had a chat while she was driving home from her weekly "fun activity" with my dad.  (She was using the car's hands-free bluetooth option, so it was safe.)  But during our conversation, I mentioned to her everything I know about mental illness, which is a considerable amount given the fact that I have a mental illness, and I have OCD to boot, so I tend to research the fuck out of everything I can.

   I spewed and spewed on and on about the statistics, about how I'm scared for my daughter since this shit has been proven to be genetic.  Ironically, she started the conversation with how my doctor's appointment went and with which doctor did I see.  After telling her how things went, because for some stupid-assed reason, I can't bring myself to close her off of that part of my life, and she had the gall to ask me with an air of indignation, "Which medications are you on now?" 

   I told her.  And then I told her that my doctors are actually listening to me, and that we are working hard to get a handle on things, because no one ever really has control over anything.  It wasn't the first time I'd had this conversation with her.  And I know for the life of me, it isn't going to be my last.  But we continued on, and I told her that my mental illness isn't something that's just going to "go away."  And anyone who thought that was more misinformed than anyone on the planet.

   I also told her that I INHERITED this shit from one of my parents.  She said, "So you're saying you got this either from me or your dad."  I said, "No, mommy.  Not from you, and not from dad.  Quite possibly, from the sperm donor.  Now you see why I've been bugging you to get his name?"

   She said she'd figured as much, and artfully steered the conversation in a different direction.  She's good at that, avoidance.  If you avoid the subject, it doesn't exist or matter.  Calling her on her tactic, I told her I was thinking about getting a DNA test done, and she asked me where I'd get the money.  I have more pressing things to take care of right now (and of course, there's a fucking BOATLOAD of shit going on right now, but it would really stray off topic), rather than find out the asshole who sired me was in fact, an asshole.  And a dead one at that.  What good would DNA do me if he was dead?

   I told her that it would prove quite a few things.  One, that I'm not making this shit up; two, I would know more about whether or not this is genetic; three, if my sperm donor may have suffered from mental illness too, driving him to drink.

   She had nothing to say.  I begged her, whether or not she believed it, to do some research of her own.  I told what I was diagnosed with (Bi-polar I disorder, rapid cycling with OCD, PTSD, and military sexual trauma), and I implored her to look it up on the internet, to do the research for herself.  I mentioned that maybe she'd see that, after all these years, there really IS something wrong with me, that I'm not being overly dramatic as she constantly accuses me of being.  This time, she changed the subject entirely.  And it was then that I knew she would never, ever honor my request.  Not for his name nor to look up the information.  Because to her, if you don't think about it, if you don't live with it, it doesn't exist and/or it doesn't matter.

   Which makes me feel like I don't matter to her.  Oh she'll argue with me that I do, that she's never shown me a time when I haven't mattered to her.....but then, I bring up my sperm donor, and the skeleton that she transferred from her own closet to mine.  I bring up the shame, guilt and horror of knowing my dirty little secret, and knowing that my dad knows, but that he has no idea that I've been brought in on the family lie.  According to her, my dad doesn't think I can handle it.

   I'm still here, so I guess that means I'm still handling it pretty well.  She's still here, so I guess that means she feels better.  The only player in this whole mess that isn't around, is the key player, the one who did the deed, who started this whole sordid bullshit in the first place.

   Were he still around, I wouldn't want to get to know him.  I wouldn't want to have any kind of contact with him.  I'd just want to use him for science experiments, and throw HIS skeleton in a closet.

The bottom line: If you want a happier family, bring those skeletons out of the closet.
Bruce Feiler

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


There are many things people will do out of desperation.  There are many things that lead people to that feeling of hopelessness, to just want to give up on life completely.

For someone with bi-polar disorder, it can take the simplest of conditions or situations.  Like losing a job, having issues with your bank account or your significant other, even not being able to say what you really feel inside to people on the outside.

Any one of those things are what doctors like to call "stressors" or "triggers."  And unlike Lay's potato chips, it really only takes just one.  Because the snowball affect will take over at that point, taking ALL of your stressors, triggers, hot button issues, and turn them in on yourself.

You start to think along this pattern, which seems like a valid line of reasoning in your head, that there's no point in continuing on.  The world would continue just fine without you, for you're a disappointment to so many people.  Most of all, you feel like you're a disappointment to yourself.

You begin to view the world as this immensely large place, and that you're one, tiny, insignificant speck in that large place.  You begin (or in my case, continue) to question your value & worth to others.  Rationalizations of certain factors take place.  Like, your problems would cease to exist if you weren't "around" anymore.  You wouldn't disappoint anyone because, frankly, you never did anything for which anyone could say they were proud.  You certainly wouldn't hurt yourself or anyone else anymore, one quick action, and there would be no more pain.  You wouldn't feel guilty for not being able to live up to your word, as you would no longer have to give your word.  Money problems would cease to exist because bill collectors can't collect from the deceased, and most of the collections you have against you are levied solely on you, no one else, so your friends & loved ones won't be bothered.

You think about those loved ones.  The people who've influenced your life in every way possible.  Your parents, who still refuse to understand why you tend to think this way; your children who wonder what it is they did wrong when they were younger to make you mad at them all the time.  You think about your friends, especially the ones you made several attempts to reach out to for help, and they never really knew how.  You begin to blame them.  All of them, for not seeing that you need help, that you weren't just crying out for attention, that there actually, really *is* something wrong.

You do things that tend to scare others.  You take stock of your possessions, write out your advance directives, update your will.  All the while you're crying, talking to yourself, continuing to rationalize every action, every word.

The cycle moves over and over and over from feelings of guilt, hopelessness, despair, and anger.  Anger.  That emotion rears it's ugly head and takes over the desperation for a while, and when you finally feel like it's subsided, desperation regains control.

The point is control.  No one ever really has it.  Even less so when you're bi-polar.  The chemical imbalance within your brain lessens that grip over life that everyone tries so hard to cling to.  Sometimes it seems being mentally ill, we're the first ones to tell the world that "having control over life" is a complete & utter myth.  Doesn't exist; it'll never happen.  And anyone who says it's possible has bigger issues than I do.

You try to reach out, again, this time to people who've told you, "The next time you feel that way, you need to call me, anytime of day or night.  Call me."  Only this time when they answer, you get this feeling that they're thinking, "Here we go again."  You think they aren't really listening, they're too preoccupied with their own happiness or troubles, whatever the case may be.

You feel lost, and those ugly feelings of hopelessness, fear, and guilt creep back upon you.  You start to think of ways to make these feelings go away, to just stop the endless gut wrenching heartache you feel about yourself and your life thus far.  For me, since I have this aversion to actually drawing blood or causing myself physical pain, I have found a more "peaceful" way to go. 

Most people consider the thought or act of suicide as chicken shit, a sin, morally reprehensible, even.  I've rationalized it so many times, I have found that my view on the subject is somewhat........liberal.  I think it's a travesty.  It happens.  Too much, to be perfectly honest.  But there are always signs.  Always.  It burns me up when people say, "I/We never knew they were hurting so much." Or something along those lines.  "We never saw this coming."  I call 'bullshit' on that.  To me, it just serves as evidence or proof that people don't really stop to think or care about people's feelings. I've been accused of being self-absorbed a lot in my life.  But the difference between me and those accusers is that I actually know what it's like.  I care.

There's a reason.  Like, duh!  I'm sick.  It's not going away.  There's no cure for this shit.  And no, just because I may feel better doesn't mean I can stop taking my medication.  It would lead me right back here......staring at myself in the mirror, tears and snot pouring down my face, questioning everything, including life itself.

Sometimes, the desperation subsides long enough for me to get a grip, and I hang on for dear life until I can see a doctor, or until the wave has completely ebbed.  But most of the time, I have to either force myself, or have someone direct me to do something, anything to get me out of my own headspace, which is what happens more often than the former.  I'm left exhausted, only wanting to sleep.  For a very very very long time.

And now that I've been holding onto this tiny thin thread of calm for 24 hours, I look back on desperation with a weak, rueful smile, knowing it will return but not knowing when.  I evaluate what I accomplished with my personal inventory, my will, and my advance directives and see that there are others I would hurt in the process were I to fully commit and succeed in ridding myself of my pain.

I think of my friends, and extended family.  I think of my little sister, who called me last night, while I was bawling, hands in my hair practically ripping it out, just so she could ask me how I was doing.  I think of this blog, and the people reading it, who may also suffer from this affliction, walking the same path I am walking, not knowing what to do next.

And to you, I say, fight.  Fight with every fiber left in your being.  Fight for yourself, for those you love & care about.  Fight to have your voice heard.  Do whatever you feel you have to in order to keep yourself here with us.  ALL of us.  We *do* care.  We *ARE* listening

National Suicide Prevention Hotline:  1-800-273-8255

Thank you, Jen Jen.  I love you very much.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Dr. Jekyll, I presume? Or is it Mr. Hyde?? Which mask are you wearing today?

   Would you be able to tell the difference between brilliance and madness just by the mere sight of a person?

   I can't either, and I'm the one behind both masks.  If you think it's difficult living with someone who's bi-polar, stop and ponder for a moment what it might be like *as* the person with a mental illness.  I'm not sure about many of you, but when I was in grade school, we were taught a form of "sensitivity training," where our vision was obscured and we were challenged to read something from across the room without assistance; yardsticks were taped to our legs so we knew what it was like to have to walk with braces; and we were even allowed to attempt to navigate the halls in a wheelchair using only our arms.

   Back then, mental illness wasn't discussed as openly as it is today.  As a matter of fact, it wasn't really discussed at all.  And if the subject just happened to pop up, mental illness was looked upon as a negative trait about a person.  People were treated like they had a contagious disease, or with "special care" so as not to 'disturb them' even further.  Even today, the subject of mental illness being brought to the forefront of American society is still somewhat of a taboo subject.  Where has the sensitivity gone?  What ever happened to helping your fellow man?? Why is it that our society still refuses to acknowledge that mental illness is not only very real, but it needs to be addressed and handled with swift and intelligent action?

   A stigma still exists and is seen most commonly when we turn on the news and find someone has destroyed lives in one way or another. We see more and more incidents all over the place about shootings; television, movie and athletic stars performing various acts to land them in the spotlight.  Not for their talents, but for the crimes or negative acts they've committed to get them into legal trouble.

   It's easy for those individuals to become the "face" of mental illness, one which the rest of our society vilifies and makes it even more difficult for those of us who are truly suffering and trying to do the right thing, by getting help, to actually live.  In my opinion, it's become a stupid fucking cliché. Oh, they're not guilty because they've had a mental illness for years and suddenly it just popped up?  Sometimes, I can see that as a viable reason.  But other times, I pull the "bullshit card," shake my head and practically despair that there's any hope for those of us who do suffer and have suffered for a long period of time.   

   I've written before about the frustrations someone like me goes through just trying to exist on a day to day basis.  I've met people who've shied away from me and refused to get to know me simply because I was open and honest about my condition.  I've made lifelong friendships with others who simply sat and listened to me talk about my life and the struggles I've endured in dealing with my mental illness.

   I've had to come to some stark realizations about other relationships I currently have with people in my life all due to the fact that they either don't understand and refuse to try, or they're in denial and don't want to be bothered with having to deal with me.  Those people frighten me the most.  They are just as skeptical as I can be, only a lot worse.  And they blame the medical community as a whole for the state of our medical care nowadays.  They point fingers at the pharmaceutical companies stating the company's sole motivation is to bilk money out of hard working Americans for something that's complete conjecture. 

   There are many faces in our society today that suffer from mental illness.  More specifically, bi-polar disorder.  Stephen Fry, for example has been extremely outspoken on the topic by writing, producing and directing (not to mention starring) in films about his condition. Anyone whose seen the 1954 movie "White Christmas" with Rosemary Clooney would probably never have guessed she was a verified "manic depressive."  Charles Dickens, Carrie Fisher, Patty Duke, Ernest Hemingway, Frederich Nietzsche, all of these people suffer/suffered from bi-polar disorder.  They were pioneers in their own right for their sheer talent.  But they were all trailblazers for recognizing their ailments and for some seeking help.

   Glenn Close and her sister, Jessie Close, have founded Bring Change2Mind, to help our society end the stigma behind mental illness.  Glenn's nephew, Calen, also suffers from bi-polar disorder.  Their work has been heralded as a true blessing to those of us who need help.  And it's not the kind of help most people think.

   No, we don't need to be told to see a "shrink."  One, they don't exist. Therefore, two they don't shrink anything.  Three, for the most part, we already know we need to get treatment.  No, we don't need to be locked up "in the looney bin."  Does the phrase "cruel and unusual punishment" mean anything to anyone?  How about this one, "let the punishment fit the crime?"  No, I don't need to have the most severe treatment pushed upon me against my will, without my permission.  I trust my doctor enough (especially with this doctor at the VA), to help me determine what types of treatment will work for....that's  No, I don't need the United States Government restricting my rights on various subjects prescribed within the Constitution.  I feel the laws need to be rewritten, changes need to be made.

   And I'm one of the faces you'll see doing my damnedest to affect those changes.

   Thanks for reading the lyfeinmyhead.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It's just a hug.

I need to keep this post brief.  Hell, I may or may not even publish it publicly, as it's deeply personal.

After many months, my doctor and I think we've found the right "cocktail" for me when it comes to my meds.  In a way, it's a blessing.  The things that I've been going through emotionally and mentally have been stabilizing; I can control my moods a bit better and the "roller coaster" doesn't swing as wildly as it used to.  And if I do tend to feel a bit down in the dumps, I notice it a lot quicker than I used to and I take action to rectify my mood.

In a way, it's a curse, because the combination tends to knock me out at night.  And if I don't take it at a specific time of night, I'm either dragging ass all day long the next day, or I just don't get up at all (this happens mainly on the weekend).  For me, this absolutely SUCKS!  I'm a night owl, I like to stay up late, as I feel there just aren't enough hours in the day to do all of the things I want to do.

As of the 15th of July, I had been unemployed for over 8 weeks and during that time, I seriously considered whether or not to file for Social Security and full benefits from the VA as a condition of my illness prevented me from getting and sustaining a job for any great length of time.  At last count, the one job I had for longer than 18 months, was when I was a journalist in Nebraska.  I felt defective, lost, and alone.

Since then, I've gotten a job at an awesome company that's investing a healthy amount of time in me to train me on their products, their company's culture, and their selling techniques in order to succeed in their company.  The training is brutally honest, tough, and mentally & emotionally taxing.  I go home every night from training, praying to everything that's Holy that I'll be able to not only graduate from training, but to make it through their "nesting" process.

When I get home, currently, I have my daughter to deal with (which is NO easy process by any stretch of the imagination), I have three roommates to contend with (that's a story for another time), and then I have this need for an emotional & mental *dump* if you will, so that I can feel safe & secure in my own mind.

I still feel insecure & unsure about telling people about my condition face to face for fear of the negative stigma & connotation that may be attached to it.  And writing about it in blogs, or sharing images, phrases & sayings on Facebook tend to make me feel better.  It may be because I feel somewhat disconnected, like I'm hiding behind a computer screen.  But I don't know.  I really don't.

I've made more emotional connections with people online, which I feel are beneficial, but my physical needs still aren't being met.  I mean, hell, just getting a hug sometimes takes an act of Congress, and I'm left stymied because a hug is such a simple, yet powerful thing.  They're free, they're comforting, empowering, strengthening, and they can solidify relationships of all types.

I may have written about something similar to this in a previous post, but at the moment, the meds are kicking in, and I can't remember.  Things are a bit fuzzy.  But once you've opened that window, let someone into that personal part of you where you tell people about what's really going on inside you head, those people not only close themselves off, they shut that window, thus closing or severing that emotional connection you need to survive.

I find it ironic.  People treat those with mental illness like they're defective, broken.  Maybe they are broken, but not in the way others think.  And it's not like mental illness is contagious like the flu.  But that's how you're treated.

Just once, I would like to tell someone about my illness and have them accept me for who I am, and just hug me.  Tell me they understand and let me be me.  Don't ask me to change how I am, because I can't.  I shouldn't have to either.  Just hug me, and understand.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Personal and professional integrity

   Being raised by two veteran service members, and as an American Veteran, I've learned the value of the chain of command, as well as the values of personal and professional integrity.

   There are some things you just *don't* do when it comes to your home or workplace.  For example, if there's a written company policy that states there is a zero tolerance for the possession or use of alcohol or drugs allowed on company property, you don't do it.  Now, granted there are several states utilizing Medicinal Marijuana statutes, and if it's legal for you to carry & use because you're sick, then by Gods & Goddesses, use it.  Just don't force me to have to deal with you because I can't handle the scent of it on you, or because I think it's wrong for people to abuse the privilege.

   For those of us who are BP, we have a tough time with personal and professional integrity because we are labeled from the beginning.  That is, if you've been outspoken enough to let people into that personal side of you.

   Just because we're different doesn't mean we should be automatically labeled as liars, cheaters, thieves, connivers, people who are out to get others, manipulators, etc.  We should be able to be taken at face value, that our word is our bond, like almost everyone else.  And the sad fact of the matter is, we aren't.

   I'm in a situation right now at work where my personal and professional ethics are coming into play.  I've become a whistleblower on certain actions being taken by my co-workers and the inaction of my superiors.  I'm pretty sure that they aren't quite aware yet of my medical/mental status, but if they ever do find out, I strongly feel that I would no longer have a job.  Is it right?  No.  Is it fair?  Absolutely not.  Is it par for the course?  Resoundingly, yes.

   But my question to you is this:  what would you do if your personal and professional ethics were being questioned?  How would you deal it?  Would you cave in and quit your job or give up on trying to make things right?  Or would you continue down the path of sticking to your morals and seeing the issue through?

   Let me hear you, internet!  I'd like to know.  These are the questions floating around about the lyfeinmyhead.