A Milestone for The Bipolar Writer

I woke up this morning to another big achievement for The Bipolar Writer blog. Today, with the collaboration of my fellow bloggers this blog has reached amazing heights. I am honored by all the great things that we have achieved on this blog. Thank you, the readers of my blog for 100K in hits. I am ready for so many great things to come on the blog!

Always Keep Fighting

James

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Photo Credit: unsplash-logoCarl Heyerdahl

Who, Me?

Who, me?

This was my honest response to my psychiatrist’s diagnosis of bipolar. Not only did I not accept it, I thought she had my file confused with someone else’s. She clearly wasn’t listening to anything I was saying. If she had been she would know that I am only ADHD.

Let me be honest and say that I was labeled bipolar multiple times throughout my life by strangers and by family so it wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard but this time it was coming from a professional, a psychiatrist at that. Nevermind what happened after that because I left her office and did not plan on returning.

I didn’t know who she thought she was but she obviously needed to see me a few more times. And that she did. I committed to going back to her because I didn’t like her and that meant I couldn’t get over on her. In active addiction, I learned a great skill, manipulation. In trying to break this terrible habit, I told myself in order to remain sober, I had to get down to the source of my problems. Antidepressants worked fine for my anxiety, with an added just in case pill, but I was still experiencing depression. I needed someone who knew what the hell they were doing and who could see through my bullshit. And …. that she did.

I would see her once a month for 8 months before accepting a mood stabilizer. At the point in which I had, I was at my lowest in years. As soon as I walked through her doors she knew I was ready. She looked at me with emotion in her eyes. My pain was evident. She wanted me to help me. I refused brands I had tried. “Not that one”. Finally, I said yes to an atypical antipsychotic. One that promised to target the problem immediately. One with minimal side effects. The one I continue to take today.

The depth of my depression wasn’t the case for me saying yes. Research was. Over the eight months I researched and investigated the symptoms of bipolar, I read stories and I accepted that I am indeed, bipolar II with rapid cycling. The sad thing was that I was medicated as a bipolar patient without being formally diagnosed with bipolar. I was told I had major depressive disorder, never bipolar yet I was on mood stabilizers while institutionalized but when I wasn’t I only had antidepressants. Odd? Wild, in fact. I still do not know where the communication failed.

The symptoms that allowed me to accept my diagnosis were rapid speech and irritability. I have had severe anger outburst my whole life. I never knew this to be a symptom of bipolar. I thought bipolar was all about depression and mania but boy was I wrong. There is much more to this spectrum disorder. Irritability is a signal to a cycle, for me. It is usually an ending to a hypomanic phase which can last for days sometimes weeks. With medication, my rapid cycling is under control but that by no means makes me exempt from symptoms. I notice an increase in irritability if I miss a number of doses. I try not to miss my medication but sometimes I seem to forget only to quickly be reminded by unstable moods.

Ironically I do not have ADHD as I had self-diagnosed. My problematic lack of focus is on behalf of bipolar disorder. I have an overactive mind that rarely shuts itself off. I have terrible mood swings before and during my cycle. I have a lot of pent-up anger, for no apparent reason. I am not naturally happy even when I try to be. I am unstable, without medication. Hi. My name is Candace and this is my bipolar experience.

If you experience any of symptoms like or similar to mine and life has you low, I ask you seek professional help. Life can be better. There are options. You are worthy of a life with stability.

Hey Ya’ll!

I would politely like to introduce myself.

I am ‘Eve’

The author behind Revenge of Eve. James has done a feature interview on me that he recently reposted. So you may be familiar with my story.

For my followers that follow James, heyyy!

James has lent me his platform to share my story and my experiences, in my words. That is so kind of him.

For those that don’t know about me, all 5,123 …. Lol, I don’t know exactly how many, of you, I am Candace. I am an alcoholic in recovery; 3 years and 2 months sober, a bartender 😉 and the mother to one amazing teenage daughter. I am a “Southern girl”.

I, like the rest of the peeps here, have a plethora of diagnosis and it is my mission to #speakup!

I am bipolar, with anxiety and mild OCD. Oh … And an alcoholic, making me have co-occurring disorders. My disorders don’t define me but they have been known to get in my way.

I write about life as I know it.

My life.

I am passionate about writing and mental wellness and about stationery. I have recently started the journey of wanting to start a creative business and blog about that on a website separate of R.O.E.

If you are interested in real life writing, I invite you to read, interact and #speakup! (Comment).

I am, as they say, an open book.

I make myself readily available for anyone who is struggling or just needs to talk. You can contact me via email on any three of the blogs I am associated with.

So if any of this sounds good to you, we’ll be chat’n soon.

Always & forever,

Candace

To Be(er), Or Not To Be(er)

“Please Drink Responsibly” is the phrase slapped across every product you must be twenty-one years of age to purchase in the United States. Alcohol has been, is, and always will be one of the most controversial matters in history for many reasons. Our grandfathers’ fathers made it hidden in the south eastern mountains to provide for their families in the most lucrative way they could. A tradition has been made out of its’ recipes and stories of bootlegging and prohibition. It’s the one thing that even the United States government couldn’t stop.

As with anything however, where there are pros, there are cons. As with anything, if enjoyed in excess there are many debilitating effects it can cause on your health and the health of others. Poor judgements and decisions are made which can impact many people for the rest of their lives. If you live just below the Bible belt as I do, don’t be surprised if some mega church preacher attempts to release you from the grasp of the Devils’ nectar as he lovingly embraces you while reaching for your wallet and groping every square inch of your wife with his eyes.

The point I am trying to make is that we live in a society that welcomes the use of alcohol like an old family friend. It’s as American as apple pie, baseball, McDonald’s, and this messed up obsession we all have over reality television. So if no one else seems to have a problem, and it all just is a natural part of life, do I really have as big of a problem as I think I do?

If you have followed me or my blog for any amount of time, you may have stumbled across my introduction or several works about alcohol and my battle with the bottle. Today I want to give you a little background about it, as the subject weighs heavily on my mind lately. I have been drinking since I was fourteen years old. It started out as simply as it typically would. Tall bottles of Smirnoff Ice which eventually led my curious tongue to tall cans of malt liquor. I drank A LOT of gut rot, gas station specials as an early teenager such as Steel Reserve 211 and the likes, until I finally calmed down into normal domestic beers.

At around the age of eighteen I began to indulge in liquor. Trying a little bit of anything I could get my hands on, I quickly discovered that vodka and gin were two of my least favorite liquors. As stereotypical as it will sound, I was a bourbon guy through and through just like my father. The smoky taste, the warm burn of eighty proof tingling down your throat, and that decadent smell of oak as it swirled around in my glass could make my mouth water with every sip. I had made it my mission to become a connoisseur of bottom shelf bourbon. Even when I moved out on my own, the only things I had to my name were a few pots and pans, a record player, a futon mattress, and most importantly… a bottle of rye whisky.

It wasn’t until last year in September that a panic attack made me really look at myself and question my life. Once I began my journey for better mental health, I realized I was using the alcohol to self medicate my anxieties and possibly even some of my bipolar tendencies when I look back in retrospect. I made a lot of changes to my lifestyle with help from my wife. I decided to not keep beer in the apartment we share and she agrees because she feels it’s a waste of money. We agree to only drink when we go to restaurants or concerts and I stopped buying liquor all together because if it’s in my reach, I will drink it.

It’s not uncommon for me to become my own worst enemy. I am my worst critic, my worst judge of character, and the last person I ever want to have to confront. Lately if I’m out somewhere and decide to have a beer, I look at myself in shame and feel regret over my decision. I feel as though I’m letting myself down and even you down. Even though I don’t drink for the same reason anymore, enjoying one beer throws so many questions into my mind, it almost makes me wonder if it’s worth it. On the other hand, I’m not drinking for the same reason anymore. I enjoy beer as a craft and a beverage. Taking barley and hops and creating a flavorful masterpiece is a skill I am honestly envious of. There are so many good things about beer that go far beyond alcohol content.

Everyone has a story. Everyone has a situation that is different. I am not writing this to sway someone who is struggling with addiction to drink. If you are someone who is on the fence, I encourage you to please take the plunge and reach out to your local alcoholics anonymous program or outpatient rehabilitation center. What I am writing this for is to tell my story and to pose a question to my friends, the readers.

With the habits I continue to follow, I find myself wondering if I really have as big of a problem as I think I do. Am I more in control than I realize? Am I blowing this entirely out of proportion? If no one else seems to have an issue, then what is my problem? I am fine with not buying liquor, but am I wrong if I buy beer from time to time? What are your thoughts, and do you struggle this as well?

Self-Harm and Seeking Attention

For a long time, I tried to hide my self-harm scars. Luckily my arms are fairly hairy, so they aren’t quite as obvious as they might otherwise be. My upper arm is considerably more noticeable (the deepest scars are there), but I generally don’t wear sleeveless shirts. In fact, I used to wear long-sleeves throughout the year, which in the heat and humidity of a New Jersey summer can be pretty miserable.

I would hide my scars in the same way that I would hide the cuts themselves, back when I was actively self-harming. It was a compulsion, an addiction, and it came with questions from anyone who saw the marks. I didn’t want to talk to people, I didn’t want to interact, and I certainly didn’t want the false sympathy and blank stares from people who didn’t, and couldn’t, understand.

I don’t worry as much about it anymore; it’s been over fifteen years since I last cut myself. The scars are as healed as they’ll ever be, and what’s left (dozens of raised, deep ones; hundreds of smaller lines) are a permanent reminder of what I used to feel, and who I used to be. I’ve come to terms with it, and I no longer care what people think. In fact, as I’ve started moving into a realm where as an author of books about depression I need to more actively talk about these subjects, I find it actually helps bring light to a condition that needs desperately to be talked about more frequently.

But not everyone is like that. I know people who tattoo over their self-harm scars. I know people who simply cover them year-round. And I know people, of course, who still actively hurt themselves. And what I’ve found is that, for the most part, those who hurt themselves do it in secret. They do it surreptitiously. They do it with the hope that no one will ever find out.

I bring this up because there is a common misconception about self-harm that it is, at its root, an attention-seeking device. That the people who do it are subconsciously crying out for help, trying to get people to pay attention to them, and doing it in all the wrong ways. I actually think most of us self-harm for a very different reason.

I was never interested in attention. I never wanted people to see my cuts. I was happy if I made it through a day and no one spoke to me, or even saw me. Instead, I cut for a singular, simple reason: I needed to see blood. There was a compulsion in watching the pure white flesh beneath my skin split open, well with blood, and trickle down my arm. It was, to me, aesthetically pleasing, and felt good to watch.

Believe it or not, I didn’t particularly enjoy the pain. The pain was something to be endured for the sake of seeing the blood. After I cut, after I saw the blood, my anxiety would be reduced. My stress would be relieved. I could settle down in the comfort of my bed and sleep, pass from the world, and forget I ever existed.

Now of course, there are people who also cut for the pain. For the sensation, to relieve the numbing nothingness that is depression. Physical harm, of course, releases numerous hormones and chemicals throughout the brain and body, many of which are pain-relievers. This in itself can be an addiction. The sense of peace that comes from self-harm may easily be attributed to this.

There are people who cut because it gives them control. Too often we feel like the world around us is beyond our control, beyond our ability to influence, and hurting ourselves is something we are in control of.

And often, we can’t help it. Because it is an addiction. It becomes a compulsion, something you can’t help and can’t control. They do it day after day because, like smoking or alcohol, you simply have to.

There are also people who self-harm in other ways. Cutting is common, but there are people who burn, who scratch, who bang their head against the wall and throw themselves down stairs.

And none of this is to seek attention. Sure – there might be people who do it subconsciously because they’re not getting the attention they need from the people they need it from, but honestly, I think this falls into the minority. Most of us hurt ourselves because we want to, for ourselves. Because we have to. Because there simply isn’t any other way to cope.

Lastly, it’s also important to recognize that self-harm and suicide are not the same thing. The vast, vast majority of people who self-harm have little to no interest in actually killing themselves. Whilst I have had suicidal moments in my life, the cutting was never correlated with it. And I never cut to die.

So for all of you who self-harm, know that there are people in the world who understand. There are those of us who truly know what it’s like, and why you do it. And we understand you might not be looking for attention, or wanting to kill yourself. I can’t say I condone self-harm – I think it’s important to seek help if you can’t control it – but I understand it.

And you aren’t alone.

Guest Posts on The Bipolar Writer Blog

Guest Blog Posts for Mental Health Awareness Month

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I know its the 11th of March and I should have done this sooner, but I wanted to open up some guest spots on my blog for the rest of the month. What does it mean to guest blog on The Bipolar Writer blog? Well, it’s simple, and here are the required things that I want from my guest bloggers.

  • Original content on any topic of mental health, mental illness, or mental health awareness.
    • You can talk about the stigma of mental illness.
    • Anything related to mental illness will be accepted. It can be a poem, a short story, or simply an article about an mental health topic.
  • Edited and proofread content
  • A link to your blog
  • At least a featured image for the post (but the more pictures you chose makes for a more exciting blog post.
  • (Optional) Name connected to post

It is that simple. I want to stress the importance of proofreading the piece that you submit. I will at times proofread an article given to me as a guest blog, but I am often busy.

If you would like to guest blog merely send all the required information above to my email address @ jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com

I look forward to seeing what my fellow bloggers offer regarding exciting pieces for mental health awareness month.

Let’s fight the stigma surrounding mental illness together!

James Edgar Skye

Photo Credit: https://www.pituitaryworldnews.org/may-is-mental-health-awareness-month/

The Best Decisions I Ever Made

I haven’t always done things the right way when it comes to my diagnosis. For years I tried to do the wrong thing on purpose and turned to the wrong vice. Illegal drugs were never a part of my life (with the exception of smoking weed in high school.) It was never my style to take hard drugs. I never took issue, however, with smoking cigarettes to get past my anxiety or drinking way too much to numb the pain.

One of the best things I ever did was give up these two vices that were hurting my recovery.

I gave up smoking almost three years ago. It sometimes seems surreal that I just quit one day and never took it back up. I didn’t need a patch or gum. I made a conscious decision that I had to stop using it to deal with anxiety. When I started working on my health, quitting smoking was one of the best decisions I ever made. I was never a heavy smoker, it took me usually a few weeks to go through a pack of cigarettes. I would sometimes social smoke, but for the most part, it was only to get through anxiety.

Smoking became a way for me to not deal with my anxiety in the moment. I would smoke and make myself believe that it made life better. It did, for maybe a moment. Moments can be fleeting. What really got to me about smoking is that near the end, I “needed” to smoke every day. The first time I went through a pack in less than I week, I decided enough was enough. It didn’t hurt that I was realizing just how out of control my anxiety was getting at that moment. I was believing the lie that smoking helped keep anxiety at bay, and it became a losing battle.

I made the decision the day after my birthday almost three years ago. I just quit. I was always good at quitting things.

My journey with alcohol was similar, and I used it to numb the pain when I was really depressed. It’s funny most people knew I smoked cigarettes, I never kept it a secret, but I was very good at keeping my dependence on alcohol from my friends and family. I drank on my own late at night to make it easier for me to sleep. Anyone who takes medication for any mental illness knows that mixing with alcohol is a bad idea. It was just easier to find the bottom of my favorite whiskey bottle than to deal with my anxiety issues.

Some of my best “drunk stories” were always when I went on vacation. I am not proud by my behavior, and I don’t condone using alcohol as a depressant. I write the following two paragraphs in this blog post to show just how lost I was at that point in my life, and how I used drinking as coping mechanism in the worst way. I would drink excessively when I was on vacation. I would laugh it off as “what happens in Vegas.” I once drank so much in Vegas in a three hour period, that me surviving it without a hospital visit is a mystery. I puked a lot. I guess that helped, but it stupid behavior that I regret.

Drinking to survive became a crutch and one that became all too familiar in my life about two years ago. I realized that it was not helpful. The more I drank, the less I cared about myself. I always used alcohol because the consequences were never severe. I never got a hangover (this is not a brag just the truth) so I never really thought it was problem. I am not sure why I stopped drinking. It was just something that started one day and hasn’t ended. Not drinking has its drawbacks. Late at night, I had to deal with my problems and it was no longer at the bottom of a bottle.

The decisions that we make in life have to be for ourselves and not because of outside influence. Using things like cigarettes and alcohol (and even drugs) is never the answer. I don’t pretend to be some prophet that is telling people what vices in their life they should/shouldn’t use. In fact, I am not saying that smoking and drinking is bad, but for me it just hasn’t been a good thing. We are all flawed humans. My goal, as always, is to share my experience and to show how vices like alcohol and cigarettes alongside mental health is never a good thing.

I hope that anyone dealing with drug addiction, alcohol addiction, and even tobacco addiction find the strength to fight. Like anything when it comes mental illness, if it doesn’t help you, it’s probably good to give it up. Addictions no matter how big or small can be counterproductive alongside a mental illness. I have learned the hard way.

Always keep fighting.

J.E. Skye

Girl on the pull…

I’m turning 26 this year, but for 20 years of my life or a little more I have been a girl on the pull. It’s something I try to conceal but I can’t, I am ashamed yet it’s a part of me and all I have ever known. Truth is I’m always on the pull….


Trichotillomania

‘A mental disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body, despite trying to stop.

Hair pulling from the scalp often leaves patchy bald spots, which causes significant distress and can interfere with social or work functioning. People with trichotillomania may go to great lengths to disguise the loss of hair.’

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/trichotillomania/symptoms-causes/syc-20355188


  • Trich o what?”
  • But why would you want to pull your hair out?”
  • “Well that must really hurt you”
  • “Can’t you just stop?”
  • “Stop doing that”
  • “Do it for me”
  • “You don’t want to be bald do you?”
  • ” If you carry on like that you will have no hair left”

 

 


 

 

All of these questions are something I have faced nearly every day of my life.No it doesn’t hurt, it satisfies me but then I beat myself up after. I twist and twirl strands of my hair around my fingers until I find the right piece and snap. A beautiful sound, one I’m often searching for.I will be on the pull and think ok just one more won’t hurt, oh that was a good one let’s do that again and it takes you several attempts before finally you stop. Before you know it I have a pile of hair on my lap or on the floor that I then must try and disguise. The thing is I do it ok Secret. I panic.I roll my hands over the carpet creating a ball of hair that I analyse and then hide in the bin, throw out of the window or flush down the toilet. The condition is crippling. My hair is un even and my dreams of ever having that sultry mermaid look will never happen. I frequently am able to block the family hoover regardless of how much hair I gather to dispose of. Times of stress will make it worse. And now I am at a point where I am severely depressed and show no signs of growing better.


Catherine look at all this hair on the floor, you must not do that do you hear me?” My first memory. Aged 5, pushed into the corner of my bedroom by my mum and grandma. I was scared but couldn’t stop. Teachers would tel my parents I was away with the fairies. I would sit at my desk and pupils in my class would shout at me to stop but I couldn’t and that’s when I started to do it in secret on my own. It seems to be worse during times of high stress. My GCSES and A Levels. I remember standing up to leave the exam hall and seeing a pile of my brown hair on the sport hall floor and everyone looking past and looking at it. My coping mechanism in a way I suppose? I first sought help at the age of 17/18. Having just nursed my terminally ill grandparent at home until their last breath my life would never be the same. Worried what my parents might do and say I chose the CBT route instead of medication. I never clicked with the lady, she had hairy armpits and chose to pin a lot of the blame on my parents, I went twice and never went back.Then again while at university I was having a rough patch and felt such incredible guilt that I scratched all the skin off my chest until it bled. I had to cover my chest for over a week to hide the marks. I had some therapy he was a nice man but I never felt it helped. And recently loosing my dream job and living isolated alone abroad, this time a mixture of my depression, anxiety, hair pulling and alcohol. Not a great cocktail as you can imagine, feeling I had to explain myself every time I went for a haircut. It’s something I have always done.


It’s not just the hair on my head. I have always been obsessed with hair removal. I can’t bear it. I will constantly epilate my legs and underarms, and will be waxed on my bikini line.I take great pleasure after I’m searching for ingrown hairs that I can pick out, digging so deep that I bleed and scab and scar. So no, I can’t just stop. Does anyone know how I can?

My Experiences with Hormone Supplements

A transparent skull model in a corridor

Hormones are crazy things. I’ve heard them blamed for anger, happiness, motivation, lust, and cranky teenagers.

Turns out, they’re responsible for much more than that. In reading over Dr. Wikipedia just now, I see that my original plan of typing, “Hormones have many functions besides mood” is kind-of, completely obvious and extremely limited.

Frankly, we can’t live without this classification of body processes, which include directly influencing functions and indirectly affecting nearby functions.

In layman’s terms: hormones are everywhere, affecting everything. Plus, even the simple ones come as a package deal. I’ve often described them as like upgrade options when purchasing a new car. Just like getting the sunroof also includes the heated seats, a hormone like serotonin affects happiness and appetite (and memory, social behavior, sexual desire, etc.).

As you can tell, they’re the sort of package you’re hesitant to sign up for. Can’t I get just the mood improvement? We wonder.

Stodgy, uptight mood salesperson says, “No.”

Despite this limitation, an ĂŒber popular trend is Hormone Replacement Therapy. I should know; I jumped on the bandwagon.

People (with money) are rushing to embrace this idea of supplementing the hormone that is deficient in order to fix problems. It seems to mostly be applied to menopausal situations but is branching out to include testosterone-failing men and hormone-deficient women (like me).

I am not a fan of medication. The whole hormone thing seemed a safer bet, a more natural bet. Plus, my symptoms are milder than many others.

Almost all of my life I have been somewhat depressed. I’ve called it pessimism, realism, an analytical nature, being a woman, shyness, low self-esteem, and social anxiety. Since something inside me has been able to ultimately resist actually acting on thoughts of harm or suicide, I assume my mental issues to be somewhat lesser than others’ experiences.

So, my initial journey down the Medicate Me route has been to take a few hormones prescribed by my (very expensive) hormone doctor.

Obligatory I’m not a doctor warning: I am not a doctor. Go see one, and don’t self-medicate.

Anywho: She prescribed progesterone pills for my whole cycle issue I discussed in an earlier post, plus serotonin “out of intuition.” Interestingly, the serotonin turned out to really be 5-HTP, some sort of supplement that helps some people’s bodies make more serotonin. That pharmacy got into trouble for selling one thing as another, but that’s a different story.

After looking over my blood tests, Dr. Pricey asked me if I was frequently tired. I have been potty training my youngest for nighttime sleeping, so have therefore not slept through the night in a few years. On top of that, sometimes the children feel ill or want a drink or can’t find their own beds and end up waking me for directions.

She added a thyroid vitamin to the mix.

My testosterone level showed to be nearly on empty, so she recently injected a testosterone pellet into my backside. Don’t worry, it was voluntary.

So: monthly progesterone, daily 5-HTP and Thyrotain, and slow-release testosterone.

Did it all work? I wasn’t sure.

Life is difficult to isolate variables in. Besides normal depressive thoughts, I also have a husband with whom I have been trying better marital techniques. I have four children, a house, writing commitments, a side job, and cycling hormone levels.

“I’m not sure it’s changed anything,” I noted, to my husband.

“I’ve noticed a difference,” he responded, in that sweet, sensitive way of the matter-of-fact engineering personality.

And, actually, I have started to notice differences as well. Let me give you a few scenarios:

We invited a neighbor family over for dinner and games one evening. As the night wore on, they admitted they were planning an early-morning trip out of town and we cut the evening a little short so they could sleep. Next day, The Devil Known as Facebook showed that they and another neighbor couple had gone together.

In the past, seeing people’s pictures of going places and not even telling me were triggers. Those happy faces meant no one liked me, noticed me, or cared about me. They must all hate me, I was sure.

When I saw the post, I thought, How fun! I hope they have a good time! I think I even commented something of that sort since that is what The Demon Facebook Lord requires.

I’ve had conversations with my husband wherein he started to pull out some of our Cycle of Hurt tactics, and I was able to stick up for myself. I valued myself and told him that he’d hurt my feelings.

Perhaps you are more mature than me in this regard, but my past fallback was to become personally offended, internalize the hurt, assume he did not love me and end up blocking my closet door whilst crying on the other side of it.

I previously described my current sensation as looking at my life like a detached anthropologist. This is because I have been able to think differently than before and compare the new exchange to past examples with a scientific attitude.

Formerly, I would mentally berate myself for not being able to just change my attitude. Why couldn’t I just think positively; feel happy? Somehow, the hormonal cocktail supplements have done just that. They’ve given me pinkish lenses.

This may not be the same result for others. However, I wrote this rambling post to encourage myself and those faltering at the doorway to medication to not be afraid of medicinal aids.

Granted, this is low-level stuff. They’ve pushed my baby toe in the door, however; helped me see that the cure is better than the disease.

I warn, as well, of blindly accepting a drug-happy psychiatrist’s insistence. Find someone knowledgeable, but also caring and reasonable.

I also warn of side effects. Even these hormone thingies have them. For example, the testosterone is causing my hair to fall out like post-radiation treatment. I’ve been put on saw palmetto (another supplement), to stop the loss. Not helping yet, but perhaps I’ll look good in a scarf.

And, as an update six months out: I learned that testosterone may make me birth a hermaphrodite if I become pregnant again. You live, you learn. So, don’t try the pellet; do talk to a doctor.

Take some control of your life today. You won’t regret it.

Photo Credit:
unsplash-logoSamuel Zeller

unsplash-logojesse orrico
unsplash-logoYuvraj Singh
unsplash-logoJonathan Perez
unsplash-logoHybrid

Chelsea’s Writing Site, if interested.

Life is Like a Cigarette

I’m not shy about the fact that I am addicted to nicotine. My delivery method of choice is a Cowboy-killer cigarette. There is some talk in the mental health community that tobacco companies like to prey on the mentally ill in order to sell more product. I completely agree with this statement as living proof. While I was in a mental health facility, twice I might add, smoking was a great way to pass the time. Although I wasn’t a smoker my first go around,they still provided nicotine products for those who were. During my 2nd in-patient treatment I smoked like a chimney, and became very close to others that did as well.

I have very mixed feelings about smoking. On one hand, it is a torture that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies. It destroys your body as well as your finances, and will always lead to an early death. On the other hand, it has become a self-harm coping mechanism for me, for the same reasons stated above. While started as a way to ease into my social circles that I hadn’t yet found while in college, it has become a ravaging addiction.

I desperately cling to this addiction, even though I want to quit. It gives me a solace knowing that I’m shortening my own life with each smoke. The depression in me loves this fact. While my depression is getting better, my body now depends on the nicotine to function. It really is the last bastion of my depression that even I myself am trying to defend.

Smoking has become something incredibly negative in public view, and for good reason. However, I can’t help but feel further alienated by being a smoker because it impacts one’s health so negatively. Smoking is banned in building, near buildings, and I always feel guilty lighting up around other people. I’ll constantly get these stairs from people as if I’m a disgusting monster for this bad habit of mine. I’ll constantly be singled out by people because the odor sticks to my clothing and is always on my breath. While I do not blame these people for treating me so differently, it puts fuel on my mental illness fires. So much so that it becomes this loop of smoking because I’m depressed or anxious, then becoming more depressed or anxious for being judged as a smoker.

I want to tell all of you out there, that smoking is a terrible thing to do. Yet while I do it to myself, I know I sound hypocritical. If you smoke, I recommend quitting if you can; if you don’t smoke, don’t start, it’s not worth it. I too will quit when my insane suicidal fantasies behind smoking also end. Until then, I continue to hope that someday, this habit of mine will cost me my life. For all you out there, there is hope for you yet. Someday, I’ll follow suit.

“Life is like a cigarette, at first it seems long and you think it’ll last a while. But by the end it seems so short, went by too fast and you want another.”

Yours,

Wolfgang


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