Tuesday, February 28, 2012

All Those With Any Mental Illness Will Relate To This Blog

I received a comment yesterday that I felt would be really great to blog about. So thank you. While I have been discussing Bipolar Disorder, this blog really pertains to any individual with any type of mental illness. Whether it is any type of mood disorder, Bipolar, Depression, Schizophrenia, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or ADD/ADHD, etc., or in some cases additional health issues as well.  

All individuals with mental illnesses really go through the same issues. For example my discussion on, medication usage during pregnancy, the fear of pregnancy, pet therapy, and especially the blog "If It's Not Seen It's Not There". I really want to address this more in detail.

How many times have you heard folks say, "She or he is crazy"? Alternatively, that person needs some "Prozac." While usually I just laugh it off, it really does bother me. What if I said in response, "I am on Prozac," I think the person would look like a deer caught in the headlights! While those comments are not really meant to hurt or offend somebody, nevertheless they are bothersome!

Another issue I've come across, is the label and assumptions of being "bipolar"...For example, if I overreact to something or get upset, individuals under their breathe will say, it's just her "bipolar" causing these reactions. Once, in tears, I was discussing an upsetting legit situation with somebody, the person had the balls to tell me I was being "overly emotional," implying that the cause of this was do to my bipolar. This person also knew I was bipolar. If it had been any other person in that situation, without a mental illness, that comment most likely would not have been made, and being overly emotional would have been taken more seriously.

Here is another comment I have heard from folks regarding another person, who did not know I suffered from a mental illness. Apparently, the person the statement was made about had a strong reaction to something. The individual in response regarding that person states, "they're just off their medication."

One last thing I would like to talk about which to me is baffling. I have been judged before by...A PSYCHIATRIST!  It has been my experience that some of these doctors appear to not always act in the best interest of the patient. In addition, I cannot even tell you how many egotistical, arrogant, psychiatrists there are out there. Sometimes, I believe they think, "Let me just over medicate this patient so that they will shut up," and as a result they are so drugged they can't even speak and do shut up! I am not saying that ALL psychiatrists are bad; it has just been my experience that many are! If you do not like your doctor, after giving them at least 3 sessions, look into finding another. Stability is the most important thing for those with mental illnesses so do not sacrifice that.

While writing this blog, I discovered what I am going to write about in the next one. This is about humor. While this blog dealt with judgment and inconsideration, I think it is important to look at funny situations those with mental illnesses come across. Humor can help us cope, and provide amusement, as well as provide us with a sense of relaxation.

If anybody out there has a humorous situation regarding his or her mental illness, I would love to hear about it.


Monday, February 27, 2012

I Petcha I'll Make You Feel Better

I have 4 cats. They are like my kids. I wake up every morning and go find each one and kiss them, after of course I kiss my husband! I grew up with dogs, and went through the pets that taught responsibility due to the fact that they didn't have to be walked. These were the guinea pigs, rabbits, and fish. Although keeping a fish alive is actually very difficult. Nevertheless my sister's goldfish lived until it was 8 years old. This is not a typo, the fish lived 8 years!!!

The reason I wanted to write this blog today, was because it really touches on something important, unconditional love. It has been shown that abused animals, will still come back for affection from their owner even if they are treated poorly. What's better than a lick, or a purr to start and end your day?  As well as being so cute and cuddly, pet's sense when an owner is sad, upset, scared, or otherwise not feeling well. They have proven that pets are so therapeutic that they can help an individual feel much better. Also it's been shown that cats purrs can soothe a person, who is in pain, additionally pets have been shown to be able to predict when their owner is going to have a seizure, even before it happens!

While I really wanted to keep this blog, written by myself, I think that this subject touches on a very important topic, and decided to include some articles of interest regarding pets and their importance in individuals lives.

Can those with psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder or depression benefit from interaction with animals? The answer is a resounding, “YES!” “There are an increasing number of dogs being trained to assist individuals with a range of disabilities, including seizure disorders, Parkinson's disease, heart disease, and psychiatric disorders” (Sachs-Ericsson et al, 2002). Not only can those with bipolar disorder benefit from the love of and for a pet, but they are also permitted under the Americans with Disabilities Act to employ the assistance of a service dog. (Sachs-Ericsson, N., Hansen, N.K., & Fitzgerald, S. (2002). Benefits of assistance dogs: A review. Rehabilitation Psychology, 42, 251-277.)

Additionally I found a wonderful article called "How Pets Can Help Bipolar Disorder", below is the link:


Lastly, I would like to thank the rescue league that I have adopted all 4 of my cats from, without them the unconditional and therapeutic role I've been discussing with you would not be possible. For those who are on the fence about getting a pet, whether for yourself, your family, your kids, etc. Considering the fact that there's more than just walking a pet, picking up poop, or scooping litter. Here's the website for Fancy Cats where I aopted 4 of the best gifts of my life!



Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sometimes You Just Need To Sacrifice

When I was younger I had my life planned out in my mind, specifically my future. At 26 I would be married, and at 28 I would have my first child! This plan so didn't happen as planned. I was married at 33, and I don't have a child. The child aspect is what I want to discuss on this blog.

With my husband and I having Bipolar disorder, the odds of us having a Bipolar child is 55% or higher. When one parent has it there is only a 10% chance. Here is what I've struggle with. My husband's Bipolar is for the most part fairly mild. Nevertheless the odds are still the same. In addition to this which I've not mentioned my husband has ADD and I have ADHD, which is also genetic. For years I've gone back and forth, have a child, adopt, or decide not to have a kid. As I said, having a child has also been at the top of my list of must haves, what little girl doesn't play with their Betsy Wetsy and play mom while changing her diapers. I did, and I was a tomboy!! For those who are younger than I, your probably not going to know who Betsy Wetsy is!!! So I would like to break down the scenario's that I'm struggling with.

1.) With the odds of 55% of having a Bipolar child, as well as a child with ADD or ADHD, is it fair for the child knowing this to risk these odds. Since going through many ups and downs in my life, and dealing with such a severe case of Bipolar, I've often said "I wouldn't wish this on my enemy". So knowing that the risks are so high, how is the child going to feel, if they are Bipolar, knowing that I knew the odds. I would hate to see a child, nevertheless my own, go through the shit that I have and continuously still am going though! To see a child suffer would be horrible. People I know argue the point that because my husband and I are Bipolar we would be able to see the signs right away, and by the time the child is older, new medications and treatments will be medically advanced for dealing with mental illnesses. This is the first dilemma.

2.) Medications. I'm currently taking 16 medications, this is NOT a typo. I have asthma, acid reflux, chronic pain, and allergies. All on top of the mental illness medication, which are 6 in total. I've gone to a prenatal high risk specialist to discuss the risks of my medication usage. She was not very helpful. She told me I was not high risk. Most my medications are Class C drugs, which basically means that they have been shown to be safe, for the most part. I'm on one Class D drug that has been proven to cause birth defects. Additionally, I'm on Anti-Seizure medications that if I don't take a surplus of Folic Acid, will most likely cause Spina Bifida, which means the spine will not form correctly. So while one medication is a Class C drug, the combination of 16 drugs that are Class C can't be predicted. Lastly, if I go off any of these medication the result will most likely would cause me to become unstable, and I'm at 2 years and counting for stability. Third dilemma.

3.) While babies are known not to sleep through the whole night for the first year, normal parents can deal with the lack of sleep. With folks whom have Bipolar, lack of sleep for even one night can cause severe mood swing issues, and just one or two nights of sleeplessness would throw off my mood. Not to mention the Postpartum, which is pretty much a guarantee for those with mood disorders.

4.) While most folks can look into adoptions, which I've done as well, the odds of approval for those with any type of health issues, are pretty much nil. In China if you have asthma, they will not adopt out their children. Even in domestic adoptions, parents who are giving their child up for adoption, choose the parents. No parent is going to choose 2 parents with a mental illness. International adoption, as well is at least $25,000, how the hell can anybody afford that? Even getting a surrogate is expensive. Then you run into whether to use an egg a sperm, or a non-DNA related child. Still the costs of surrogacy is outrageous!

The hurt and pain I feel at times is horrible. My husband for the most part doesn't get it. Boys don't really grow up with the "maternal instinct". When I hear someone I know is pregnant it hurts, and when I see pregnant women it hurts as well. It probably feels similar to those struggling with fertility issues! What also drives me crazy are the questions. The first question hurts but is tolerable. "Do you have any children?"; my reply is either "no" or "not yet". The second question, which all should learn NOT to ask is, "when are you going to have one?".....At that point mind your f****ing business!

I'm 38 now, and at 35 and older pregnancies are automatically "high risk". The odds of having a child with a disability increases. If I got pregnant and that happened, there is no way I could manage with all the cards already stacked so high.

My sister just had a child, who I love more than words can express. I'm an aunt and a godmother....maybe this was the answer to not being a mother, but being a mother figure to my nephew. Maybe this was given to me, from the powers to be up above.

For now I need to learn how to be content, which is difficult and I'm working on! Adjectives for content include: gratified; happy; pleased; and satisfied. While the opposite means: displeased; unsatisfied; brokenhearted; depressed; discouraged, and the list goes on. It's hard not to feel the Antonyms.....but it's all about taking one day at a time, but that is easier said than done!!!!!


Friday, February 24, 2012

My Mistakes Don't Need Corrections

When I first decided to start blogging many things went through my head. One was that I might be inviting folks into my life who don't know about my Bipolar and would judge me. Ironically this blog is to be used as a tool so I won't be judged! Also, I refused to edit, or should I say I'm going to limit editing. I'm not the best with grammar, and thank the lord for spell check. I just didn't want to reread over and over the words that I'm so honestly pouring out. Life is not edited, so neither should my blog. So far,  I haven't received any printed comments, but I've heard from a few folks that enjoyed my first post.

I think blogging is a lot like therapy or revealing something personal to a friend. At first your not so sure what to say, but over time you open up.  For now though, I need to make sure I don't drunk blog, if there is such a thing, since in my younger years drunk dialing never went over well! Sorry went off on a tangent.....

I think that's all for today........I have a husband and 4 kitties to go hug on, and if you haven't told the ones around you today "I love you", go do that now. :)


NAMI WALK for Awareness

So I've been slacking in the volunteerism department. So this year I've decided to walk in the NAMI Maryland Walk. I'm trying to get a team together as well as reach my goal of collecting $1000.00 in donations.

NAMI stands for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. It is at the forefront of funding research, pushing legislation to better those with mental illness, as well as providing support for families with relatives and friends effected by mental illnesses.

Additional Information:
The goal of the WALK is to raise both money and awareness in Maryland regarding the need for treatment and a recovery system for children and adults with mental illness. Proceeds from the WALK provide essential education and support to help improve the lives of individuals with mental illness as well as their families.

We need your help to support NAMI’s vital programs. Below you will find basic information about the NAMI Maryland Walk. If you'd like to participate in the Walk, donate on behalf of a walker, or sponsor this event use the links to the right.



If you can't donate I would love for you to participate in the walk and walk with me! And fight for equal rights for those with mental illnesses!!!

Location: Veteran's Plaza
Silver Spring, MD
Date: May 6, 2012
Distance: 2.5 MI
Check-in: 10:00 am
Start Time: 11:00 am
Website: www.namimd.org

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Life is About Lessons

Somebody once asked me this very question: "if you could go back in time what would you change, and how and/or what would you change"?. After thinking this over for a few minutes I replied "nothing". There are many reasons that I responded this way. For one, you change one thing everything changes. Life is about lessons, and if I changed anything in the past, would I have learned a lesson? For example, I thought I was going to marry the man I dated for 6 years. Had we gotten married and/or never broke up I would not be married to my "soul mate" and love of my life and best friend. 

Lessons. Life is about lessons. I truly believe that things happen for a reason. You might not know that reason, but eventually later in life you will come to understand it. If you make changes in the past, especially things that had bad outcomes or incidents, how are you going to learn from them.

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. So next time you think "could anything else be shittier than this"? Just say to yourself, "lesson". Also, look back on your past, and instead of "asking yourself what would or could you change", ask yourself "why you would not of changed it". It feels so much better, and it relieves dwelling on what has gone wrong in your life!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

If It's Not Seen It's Not There

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I, mixed mania, rapid cycling with periods of psychotic features. I have treatment resistant Bipolar and have consulted with some of the top psychiatrist's in the country. Since December 2008, I've been out on LTD and now receive SSDI and I'm on Medicare. My symptoms had become very severe and difficult to resolve, and now need to take off label medications, which mean I take meds not usually used to treat bipolar or mental illnesses.

However, this really is not the point. The point is people are so cruel and mean when it comes to mental illnesses. In addition, that includes medical doctors as well, sometimes even worse than the public. If it is not a visual disability, folks feel it's not there. Why should those folks with mental illnesses live in fear of judgment, secrets and fear of discovery?

For years I was treated by friends and family, as bipolar Betty (my name has been changed for privacy), and not Betty with bipolar. I'm lucky in one aspect of my life, and that is the fact that I married a wonderful man with Bipolar II. However, there are some aspects of my illness that he does not even understand. However, thankfully I do have someone to discuss how I'm feeling with.

There are some folks who have mental illnesses that have NOBODY to discuss their issues with. I have tons of friends but it always boils down to them having a hard time relating to symptoms that they have never had. Ironically, sometimes the best place to be is locked up in a psych ward, because at least you’re with folks who get it!!!

I cannot tell you how many medical doctors I've come across that automatically think that because I have a mental illness, my medical issue is related to that. I once went to an endocrinologist for hormonal issues I was having. I told him I was having night sweats and hot flashes. He had the balls to tell me, nothing was wrong physically, but the reason I was having hot flashes was that I was having such severe anxiety that I was holding my breath, thus causing hot flashes, and that it all was mental. One more second in that ASSHOLES office, I would have thrown him out of his 10th story window. I have since learned NEVER to include my psych medications when filling out forms when you go to new doctors. If there is a chance though of complications with prescribed medications I will tell them, but I've found out that this usually isn't necessary.

I've decided to start blogging to help myself have an outlet of releasing my feelings and thoughts, and to also help others feel that there are folks out there who GET IT...... So please continue to read, this is my first blog so hopefully I'll get better with my words over time!

Bipolar Betty