Posts Tagged ‘mental illness


Feeling Ill

Woke up this morning with a hell of a headache, lungs cinched in a vice lock and with everything painted gray.

I don’t know that I can write like this. Of course, there’s always the “if you don’t, you’ll feel worse” aspect, which is true, but the “if you do, you’ll write crap you can’t stand to look at and will feel worse” aspect is also true.

Part of me feels bad taking a day off, but that part will be quiet for a while. Technically I’m ahead on my prompts as it is, so missing one won’t kill me… besides, I might feel better later and come back.

But if anyone was waiting with baited breath for the customary 4AM post of prompt #1 on any given day, I’m sorry. It just ain’t happenin’.

Fellow writers out there, how do you write when you feel at your worst? Is there a secret trick to powering through? Feel free to share it with the class. I can’t be the only one who’d love to know.


Guinea Piggin’

Apparently, I get to be a guinea pig for an ailment tracker. This should be exciting.

The short version is that any time I have a noticeable change in symptoms relating to my asthma, depression, schizophrenia, migraines or what have you, I’m supposed to log all details relating to the incident. Time, day, weather, circumstances, severity, duration, cross-correlation with other issues if any, etc. Then I send it all off to la la land, where they collate it and cross-reference it with other people doing the same thing, and somehow that’ll help people who have similar problems that while chronic are not always at peak presence and tend to fluctuate.

I don’t know how this will benefit me in the long run, but it’s an amusing exercise, at least. Gives me something to do while I wait for symptoms to subside so that I can do anything that I actually want to or should be doing.

I suppose it won’t be helpful if I just draw a black line through every day and write “blah” on it, though that’s tempting. It’s about how I feel.

Send chicken.

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I Hate Myself and Don’t Deserve Good Things — The Bipolar Writer Collaborative Mental Health Blog

This sums up a lot of my own thoughts, and I’m sure plenty of other folks’ as well. Worth reading. (Comments disabled here; please visit the original post.)

Anxiety. Depression. PTSD. Codependency. On any given day, I’m dealing with one or more of these issues. It has taken several years for me to understand what I’m going through. I didn’t realize I was codependent until recently. That one hit harder than the others. Most of my behaviors stem from one of my issues.…

via I Hate Myself and Don’t Deserve Good Things — The Bipolar Writer Collaborative Mental Health Blog



There is little in the world that annoys me, crushes any sense of accomplishment, or brings on the waves of crippling depression and paralyzing rage than a cheater.

The definition of a “cheater” is pretty broad in my head, I suppose. Maybe I shouldn’t let it get to me. But basically, I count anyone who abuses a system, who breaks the rules or a system, or who warps the rules and definitions of a system so they can claim to “win” – especially at the expense of others and/or myself – as a cheater. Also included are people who want to brag about being #1 at something when they’ve so mutilated the criteria that there’s really no one else running.

That includes people with aimbots or lagbots, or folks who are using party chat to rig a match in an online game. That includes people who want to brag and ram it down your throat that they’re the #1 bestseller in the nonbinary lesbian moongender vampwolf otherkin comedy romance thriller genre on Amazon (and the inverse; “I’m looking for manuscripts, but only if nonbinary lesbian moongender vampwolves are doing the submissions.”) That includes all the self-diagnosed “neurodivergent” people who treat mental illness as a badge of honor and use it as a free ticket to get out of trouble or claim special treatment. That includes the folks who claim disability and receive benefits (usually for nebulous conditions like a “bad back”) who then spend their days jogging around the neighborhood and working on cars for cash under the table. This includes people who, despite living in a supposedly non-smoking complex (and being quick to report you if they saw you using a vape device without having gone past the imaginary sidewalk line) spend most of their time spewing so much pot smoke that it leaks under the door of neighboring apartments, and somehow are immune to punishment. This includes people who claim nonexistent (or, as I call it, “conveniently existent”) disabilities or gender identities to use them as bludgeons against others, excusing everything from frivolous lawsuits to pedophilia and perjury.

It’s a long list. And it’s the sort of thing that’s always made me furious. I remember being in the first or second grade, one of the students – and notorious bully by virtue of his height and girth – was trotting around the schoolyard claiming to be the “King of Grades.” Yes, it’s stupid. But it still enraged me, especially because I knew it to be false; you don’t get consistently held back to finish homework or repeat quizzes if you’re doing well. I remember getting myself landed in detention because I ended that discussion by hysterically shouting random questions at him, trying to “prove” he was lying by catching him in a wrong answer. “What’s a bicuspid?” That was the last one I recall.

Yeah, I’m nuts. I know it. “Don’t let it get to you,” most people would say, or more colloquially, “Don’t let the bastards get you down.” It’s born of a seething inferiority complex that’s compounded by an inability to feel any sort of pride my own accomplishments or having that pride ripped away, shat on, or belittled by those around me (or, in today’s lovely environment, being told that pride is somehow “problematic.”)

Still, rage-inducing. Promoting me to stare at the sharp objects far too often. Liable to force me to submerge and pretend I don’t exist again or make me throw my hands up in the air and stop taking my meds or even trying.

Not a happy post today. Sorry, folks.

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Let’s talk about mental illness — ontheedgeofeverything

Some good points are brought up here. Check it out. (Comments are disabled here; please visit the original post.)

When it comes to mental illness, one of the most effective ways to understand it is through conversation. I often say that unless you’re chatting with someone who has dealt with mental illness themselves, it’s difficult to convey what exactly it entails. Talking to someone about a mental illness you’ve both experienced can be one […]

via Let’s talk about mental illness — ontheedgeofeverything


Depression: Lock & Key

Depression is a fascinating feeling. It’s not any one thing, really; it’s a pile of conflicting emotions and responses, finely tuned to subtly twist everything you think or feel, seemingly with the sole intent of making you miserable.

When factored in with a physical malady, such as asthma, that seems intent on doing the same to your body that the depression does to your mind and heart, it leads to all kinds of fun metaphors.

I’ve decided that the duo together are rather like a combination lock. You know, those old Masters or Schlages that were on your locker or bedroom once upon a time. But this is no dinky lock that if you got irritated enough you could just snap off with a pair of pliers and a bit of determination. Nope. It’s one of those two pound monstrosities with an inch-thick hasp. Covered with rust and marred by the tool marks of those who’d tried – and failed – to force it open.

That lock is being used to hold together heavy-duty chain, the gaps threaded with barbed wire so old, gnarled and rusted that you probably could get tetanus just looking at it. It’s wrapped around my chest – extra tight, can’t have those lungs working, can we, buddy? – my throat, my mouth, my eyes, my balls, my brain.

The only thing that feels like it’s free are my hands… but they have a job to do.

Before I can do anything else, before I can try to be a productive member of society, before I can pretend that everything’s okay and today isn’t the day I drive off a cliff or get creative with my dosages, those hands have to twiddle the dial on that bastardly lock and find the combination.

That lock doesn’t want the combination found, though. So it finds all kinds of fun ways to stop you. The dial doesn’t want to turn, and the notches on the face are eroded so you can’t tell if you just turned 35 clockwise or 41 counterclock, assuming you even came close to where you wanted to be. Fine motor control goes out the window when you’re having to exert near-Herculean force to move it an inch in the first place, and the lock is tricksy. It’s stuck… except when it doesn’t want to be.

Maybe it takes an hour. Maybe two. Maybe all damn day. But you can’t do anything else until you find the combination. And the lock is, as I said, tricksy. “You beat me today,” it clicks and clacks out the hole the hasp was plugging a moment ago. “But I’ll still be here tomorrow.”

So I get on with the day, best I can, whatever’s left of it. But come the next, the chains have crept up on me again, wrapping tighter than the day before, the barbs now sharper with everything that didn’t get done the day before. The lock has changed the combination, and maybe even the rules; perhaps it will only have two numbers today, but will have to be spun backwards, or it might be ten digits today and they change every time you miss one.

So when I’m quiet, and haven’t been able to work or write or make snide commentary on trophy lists or do much of anything beyond staring at the television and trying to make sense of the pictures, it’s not laziness, stubbornness or stupidity – though I am sure I am guilty of all three in various measures.

It’s me being busy. Trying to pick locks.

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Brain Surgery

I’m crazy. Absolutely batshit. That’s been known for some time, and I’m not one to pretend otherwise, or shy away from admitting it, or worry about what anyone else says about my particular brand of madness. It’s just a fact, as much a part of my makeup as black hair, bad teeth and my asthma.

Being broken that way doesn’t mean useless, though. It’s treatable. Not “fixable” by some standards, but certainly livable. Hell, I muddled through 37 years before having a stable and functional chemical cocktail to keep me running.

But we’re not talking about me. We’re talking about you. Yes. You. Someone out there reading this is suffering from mental illness and not doing what they can to treat it. Because nobody bothered to tell me this stuff, I feel the need to say it, on the off chance it helps someone else. So here’s a quick list of things to remember.

1. It’s not your fault. Sometimes the chemicals just don’t work right and that’s not something you can will to be otherwise. Stop blaming yourself.

2. Don’t let other people tell you how to feel or how to deal with it. “Cheer up!” or other platitudes – offered in various levels of exasperation – doesn’t do anything except make you feel worse if you fixate on it. Other people don’t get it unless they’ve been there, and that’s not their fault. Hating on them or hating yourself because you can’t do as they say isn’t going to get you anywhere.

3. Get a psychiatrist. Not a therapist, not a psychologist, not a GP. A head-shrinker who does that and nothing but. Try to find one who specializes in whatever you think you have; if you’re right, they’ll know how to treat it. If you’re wrong, they’ll be the first to notice and offer a referral to someone else.

4. Get two. No, really. A second opinion is always a good idea. Shrinks are just as fallible as anyone else, seeing the world through the lens of their experiences, biases and education. Finding two who agree – at least generally – is a good sign you’re on the right track.

5. Talk to your shrink. Tell them everything. Hiding things, misrepresenting things, or outright lying isn’t helping anyone. Their job is to help you, and they can’t do that if they don’t have all the facts.

6. Take your meds. If they were prescribed to you, you should take them. That means take them as prescribed, when prescribed. Most psychoactive drugs take time to kick in, and need to maintain a presence in the bloodstream to work. Skipping doses or deciding you “feel good” one day and just not taking them is a quick right straight back to where you started.

7. Talk to your shrink. Toying with brain chemicals is more art than science, because everyone’s illness and internal chemistry is different. The first thing they give you may not work. The dosage may be too high or too low. They may need to add something else to it. Stay in touch with the doctor, tell him how each tweak is working (or not working) and adjust accordingly.

I’m sure there’s something else I’m forgetting, but I think that covers most of the bases. If any of you out there have stories you’d like to share, words of encouragement, or other things you think should be on the list, drop them in the box below.

Until next time.



It’s been a little over a year since I visited the nice man in the long white coat who put a name to what was wrong with me and gave me a bottle of pills for it. They helped – a bit – but he wasn’t 100% correct in his diagnosis.

A year later, and a different nice man in a long white coat with a pile of sheets upon a clipboard decided that maybe the first nice man was a little wrong and was giving me a different bottle of pills, and that helped – a lot – but he still wasn’t spot on.

According to them, I suffered from bipolar disorder and depression. Which is true. They had wonderful drugs like Lamictal and Prozac, which make you feel so much better. But they’re not the whole story.

Whether you’re clinically mentally ill (as in, there is a chemical imbalance requiring chemical and medicinal correction) or merely “disturbed” (as in it’s all in your head, your way of thinking), doctors and pills can only take you so far. Some of it you’re going to have to do yourself.

I think the real reason I feel so much better lately isn’t just the pills, or the progress my therapist says I’m making. It’s far simpler than that.

I’m writing again. I’m reading again. I’m watching something on Netflix that isn’t just Bob Ross reruns to help me get to sleep and playing games that aren’t just the mindless clickfest of Diablo III again. In other words, doing all the stuff I should have been doing all along, the things that used to make me happy in some way.

That’s the key – and the trick. Depression can best be combatted by doing things that make you happy, but it makes you not want to do those things. I diminishes or removes any joy you might have had in the activity. It throws a black shroud of helplessness and hopelessness over it until all you can bring yourself to do is sleep and mull over the depression itself, turning itself into your version of Gollum’s precious, the thing around which your life revolves.

Don’t let it.


I know, that sounds simplistic and almost as bad as when someone who is happily not afflicted by mental illness of one flavor or another says “Cheer up,” but it’s not meant to be taken that way. It’s meant to mean that you have to take an active role in getting better. You can’t sit placidly and wait for the pills to work or expect a therapist to drag out the one offhand comment from thirty years ago that broke you and rendered you unloving and unlovable. You need to work for it, the same as anyone else who’s ill.

Your effort will be rewarded. You may not enjoy it when you force yourself out of the house to go watch the umpteenth sequel to a movie series you used to love. You may find yourself full of pessimism, thinking of how much a waste of time and resources the excursion was. That’s fine. That’s the illness talking.

What’s important is that you did it. You pushed back against the illness, at least a little, and that’s what you need to do.

Of course, this could be so much self-serving bullshit or things that only worked for me and won’t help anyone else out there. But I like to think otherwise.

So if you feel depressed or otherwise in an altered state, at least give it a try. Find something you used to love and do it. Just for a few minutes, at least. Try it a few times.

You might find things looking up.

All that being said, though… you should really see a doctor. Because sometimes it’s going to need more than just an attitude adjustment. Some folks are just unlucky and don’t produce enough of the right mood chemicals (or produce too much, or in the wrong mix) and need a quick knock of the wrench and tightening of the screws to help get things going straight.

But that’s just my two cents. What about you out there? Are you suffering with mental illness? Do you know someone else who is? What do you think helps in those fights? What makes it worse? Share down below, if you’re of a mind.

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