Mental Illness from my perspective

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I suffer from many disorders of the mind. Chemical imbalances, terrible phobias, psychotic tendencies.

Back in the day, the mid 80’s, the medical world did not have the aptitude for mental illness that it does now, so, as my mental illnesses emerged and ran rampant in my early and mid-teens, I received more disapproving looks and glares than actual help.

There is nothing more painful than a 15 year old who has been cutting for a few years to overhear a shrink tell your parents it’s a cry for ‘attention’. They also dumped the blame on my mother, who was riddled with guilt for years thinking she had done something wrong in raising me. Cutting and self-mutilation are not cries for help. There is actually a chemical reaction within the brain that cutting and pain produces, while also the act of pain itself is an indicator that you can indeed feel, and it feels good.

One of my suicide attempts at 16 landed me in the hospital for a good while. Do you know what the therapy consisted of? The doctors yelling at me and threatening me to straighten up and fly right and quit being a ‘brat’. This same mentality also deems suicide as ‘selfish’. Suicide is not a selfish action. If someone commits suicide, it was not for selfish reasons or to hurt those who cared for them. It is a release from all that is twisted and broken on the inside.

To this day, one of my nearest and dearest tries to argue that I am selfish for even entertaining suicidal thoughts. It hurts when you can’t change a stigma. However, I am honest in my feelings when asked.

I wear many scars of my cutting. I’ve hand many trips to the ER because I let things get out of my control. My best friend gets sad when she looks at my scars. She, however, does not lecture. She empathizes the best she can. Most of my friends do. I don’t have many friends, really, a bare handful that I will sit down with face to face. I like my friends to be pen pals or online friends due to my own quirks that society doesn’t deem acceptable.

I had a complete nervous breakdown in 2004. With that mental collapse came acute agoraphobia. I stayed inside, rarely even leaving the bedroom. I had my nest there…all my needed things. Computer, books and all my comforts.

Getting me to leave the house for something important, such as a doctor’s appointment, when I finally gave in to see one, took nearly a month to plan. Part of agoraphobia and social anxiety is ‘mapping your route’. In my ‘mapping’ I refused left hand turns. I know this sounds so illogical, but this is simply one instance of how my mind works and copes with things.

Through therapy and medicine, my agoraphobia is more under control. I mean, look…I am teaching classes at the local library. I’ve been to Arizona and New Mexico several times to see my best friend. Yes, I am medicated throughout the journey, but the point is…I am leaving my comfort zone.

Speaking of ‘comfort zones’, I have carefully and painstakingly crafted my own personal room within my house. It was once the garage, but the original owners turned it into a sunken den sort of thing. It’s very big. I could put a bed in here if not for all my bookcases and swords and general (very odd) toys. Everything has its place. When anyone else comes in here and moves something, it irritates me to no end. Others may see this room as just an office, but to me it is so much more. This is my haven. And when I say I don’t spend any time in any other place in the house, I am being completely honest. I recently purchased a new living room suit with the intent of spending more time in the living room enjoying movies and whatnot with the family. It’s been two months now, that has yet to happen.

Obviously I am getting better at social situations, so long as they are controlled, like the classes I teach at the library. Though, don’t call me up and say ‘how about I introduce you to some of my friends and we go out for dinner?’ That would be a no. I have one close friend here locally that I will meet up with for coffee, or go to our favorite lunch spot. Sometimes with nothing more than a few hours’ notice. That’s a huge step for me. An accomplishment.

A large part of going out west to see my best friend and going down to Dothan to meet with my other close friend is that they empathize. They have taken the time to know me and understand me, and would never ask anything of me that would tax my limits. These people are rare and very much loved by me. They ask questions sometimes, to better understand things, and that’s good! It shows me they want to know the limits and they are looking out for my comfort levels.

One thing I am not in control of, despite the heavy medications, is my bipolar disorder. When I am in a manic high, well…its best to lock me in a room with no sharp objects and let me talk a lot, because I tend to get very chatty and animated. When I am in a down, you will be lucky to get me out of my room. I tend not to take care of myself as well. No sleep, no food, I neglect personal hygiene to a point. I am just utterly sad and feel so very alone. It’s painful.

When my bipolar disorder gets out of whack, so does my schizophrenia. I hear things. Sometimes just awful things. I used to see things a lot, but not so much anymore. I may see a flutter or shadow from my peripheral vision. Hearing the voices though…that’s something I can definitely do without. My meds usually keep me on a pretty even keel, and when I do slide up or down, it’s not as terribly drastic as before the meds.

I also have severe depression with psychotic tendencies. Pretty self-explanatory.

I feel things very deeply sometimes. It really depends on what it is. I have little empathy for the population at large. However, don’t ever let me see animal abuse.

Most of the time, I take criticism very well. I mean, you have to when you are a writer or artist. You are under scrutiny. I’ve tried to take all my reviews that were less than favorable as learning experiences.

However, someone in a game I play said my writing was ‘underwhelming’. I have not written anything on that site since. I can’t bring myself to do it. I feel ashamed. I feel as if the whole community on that site is sitting back looking at everything I’ve ever written there (we’re talking 15 years of stories) and just grimacing as they read my words. It’s like a wound that just won’t close…it keeps bleeding and bleeding…and it only took one person to inflict it and drive me away.

As with most people that are on a lot of medications, when I am feeling good and happy, I tend to think I don’t need the meds. Huge mistake. I will admit, when I have a writing piece that needs to be done, or, say, NaNoWriMo is here, I will only take half doses of my bipolar meds, because yes, they honestly make me feel a little zombie-like. I am a very doped up person. In this little cheat time when I half my daily dose, it takes maybe a week before I start sliding up or down. In cases of an event like NaNoWriMo it is pretty solid that I will slip into a manic high.

I have admitted this all to my psychiatrist, and now every three months he orders blood work to check my Depakote serum levels. Damn it…he makes it hard to cheat!!

Another little thing I learned is to come up with tales of how I got hurt and need stitches. I used to be honest with the ER. Then my record made them stricter with me. They put me in a room to be stitched up, but they take my shoes, keys, purse, phone and even my water! So, the last time I did go to the ER, I had a wild tale as of how something sliced my arm.

I don’t know why I still cut. Sometimes, the thought just comes into my head and before I know it, I’m sitting there with a bloody rag and a feeling of calm. A serene calm. Other times, when I am manic, it seems to be a focal point for me, because my brain can’t seem to grasp hold of any one thing for more than a moment.

Are mental illnesses curable? No, I don’t think so. They are treatable, however. It takes a while. I’ve been trying and changing medications over the course of the last…almost 15 years or so. Hell, I was just changed to a new anti-depressant last month. It’s working, too! My Depakote has to be adjusted a lot though, it seems.

I think I am trying to make a point with this post…

If you know someone who seems like their struggling, try to help them. I know insurance and the cost of everything makes it very hard for people to get the treatment they need and the meds. Having good friends makes a lot of difference, too. Be a support system. If you suspect someone is hurting themselves, do not admonish them for it. Try to talk to them. Get to the heart of it. I have 4 people right at this very moment, at 3am, that I could call and they would not be grumpy or grouchy that I called them and woke them up. They would talk to me, ease me, their words would be meaningful and gentle and encouraging for me not to hurt myself. They would be there even if I just needed to cry. And I hate crying.

Mental illness is not a fad. Yes, I know there are people out there who claim to have illnesses that they don’t for the attention or benefits, but not everyone. In this day and age, depression is on the rise. When people do seek help, you aren’t just prescribed something and everything turns out fine and dandy. My first round of meds sent me so far out of control it was scary. A lot of the treatment is trial and error until you find something that fits with your body and brains chemical disposition.

Well, I’ve just rambled on, haven’t I?

In addition to the brain, my body is currently out of sorts as well. I took a trip to my family practice doc on Monday for a chest cold. I have COPD, so I don’t play when it comes to chest colds. Turns out I have myself a case of bronchitis. Antibiotics and cough syrup with codeine in it and I am still feeling like poo two days later. I get hot and then cold, I can’t sleep.

To top all that off, its pollen season here in the good old south. Everything outside is covered in a layer of yellow pollen. Allergies Ahoy!!! And with the pollen and nice temps, come all the bugs of the South. Ew.

The kittehs are all doing great. The kitten is growing well, though I think he is stunted from his time being lost and alone and eating nothing but bugs and stuff until my best friend found him.

Since cats are cats, and not all of mine get along, I can’t get a nice group photo. So, I think this weekend I will enlist the help of the daughter in setting up a nice background and sitting each cat up for a photo. Try to make it look all professional. Cyd and Siefer would sit together, and BaxterMarie would sit with Jeff. Any of the cats would sit with Jeff…he’s cool with everyone. However, little Spencer thinks it’s always playtime, so that’s going to be a challenge. And Quinny won’t sit still with anyone. Wow…this is starting to sound like a task…lol.

It has been almost 30 days since my last blog entry. For that, I am sorry. I lose readership and that’s sad, and totally my fault.

I have thought long and hard about even writing on this particular subject. It’s filled my mind every day, while I play with the cats, rearrange my office for the millionth time, read, write and put together my new computer. Oh, yes…new computer. Thank the stars above that I am super paranoid about losing my documents, programs, pictures and music. Everything is backed up on both Dropbox and an external hard drive…I didn’t lose a thing. And the new PC is awesome.

I’ll close this up by encouraging you to think things over, maybe open up some discussion in the comments.

I’m going to strive harder to not let 30 days pass without an entry again. It’s time to share some stories!

Another 30…

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As you can see, the kitten, Spencer, is getting bigger. He is a mighty terror. No toes are safe. He is still small for his age, malnutrition of being seperated from his feral mother and colony so little stunting his growth. He did get that happy trip to the vet to get his man parts …snipped.

In other news, my little sisters biopsy came back positive, so now the family is pooling our resources to send what money we can for treatment.

I had a shrink appointment earlier this week that left me asking myself ‘will I ever be free from all of this’, meaning mental illness. The answer is no. No one really ‘recovers’ from mental illness.

I am also very sick right now. I had to go to the doctor yesterday for x-rays and a breathing treatment. I have bronchitis. I got myself some antibiotics and cough syrup with codiene. Cant beat that. Still feel sick, but groovy at the same time.

I have not gotten a lot of writing done lately. Nope. I found something new to waste my time on. The ground level of a new game. Beta testing and bugs. Its entertaining. Irritation in some instances, but entertaining none the less.

So thats my update for now. I know its a little pitiful, but its sort of reflecting how I feel at the moment. To all those of you I owe snail mail letters to, dont lose hope, I have things underway for those!

~squish~

Family…

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The above picture is of my mother with the late great Fat Cat.

My mom, dad and little sister all live in Guatemala. They went there like, almost 20 years ago. My little sis was only 16 and is now all grown up with 2 daughters. I don’t think she is even an American citizen anymore, and is fine and dandy with it. She speaks the language down there fluently, as do her children.

I don’t have a picture of my little sister, but take my word, she is absolutely beautiful, and her girls are too.

The reason for this post is to keep you aware of the hardships of being so far away from family.

My little sister has tried and tried to have more children. She is allowed to have three children in the district of Guatemala she lives in. She has had loads of pregnancies, some she carried and had to deliver, but they did not survive.

The last child she carried and delivered (again, not surviving) they took note of spots in her uterus and growths on her ovaries. They did a biopsy. And tons of blood work. Remember, Guatemala is a ‘third world country’. Getting work done may be cheap, but they don’t have the means to do it efficiently.

And in that loss of efficiency you lose the lower cost. The medical bills are piling up as more tests are ordered.

My parents live off of my father military retirement and social security. My sister’s husband is an EMT. That’s not a lot of money to live on, let alone get extensive medical care, tests and treatment.

I am going to venture to ask, if you can, to donate via my PayPal link, to send some help to my family. I send what I can every month, my best friends sends money weekly and my older sister is putting lump sums in every two weeks. It’s just not amounting to enough.

I wanted to start a ‘GoFundMe’ page, but my mother would be livid. She always says its tacky. So, I am asking as a personal favor. (and my mom doesn’t look at my webpage often to see this…lol…she is more about games and reading when it comes to her computer…and she’s not to swooft on my style of writing, as in the horror stories and smut..lol).

So, if you could help out, that would be great and you’d have our deepest thanks. My PayPal link is on my static page. (zoeambler.com)

The news in my own household could be summed up as depressing. Its me entirely. I am just in a slump, moody, mopey. I did win 2nd and 4th in a writing contest, that raised my spirits for all of 30 minutes.

The kittehs are all doing fabulously. Never a dull moment.

I have been a little lax on writing back to my pen pals. Its like I don’t want to get out of bed and put on my people suit and be a person. Blah.

I guess not being able to physically be there when my mom cries is getting to me. We talk on Skype and she is so down. I hate it.

But, as a family, we are trying to do everything we can…those of us that live here in the US and those in Guatemala.

Wish the best for my sister, please?

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November 2016 Day 3

November 2016 Day 3

No NaNo word count at this time. I am actually in a Write In session as this is being typed up. Not everyone has arrived, so I thought I’d take this time to do my BlogHer prompt.

Todays Prompt:
Nov. 3: If you could be completely honest with no regrets, what would you say and to whom?

I would have to say my mother. Back when I was very very young, someone did something very terrible to me. Someone too close that did something very vile. I never said anything. To anyone. In this, I developed many mental disorders that I hid and tried to cope with as best I could, even resorting to self-mutilation, which I still tend to do to this day.

I should have told me mother. In not telling my mother, and all these …things…started coming out of me and my cracked and fractured mind and soul, my mother though she did something wrong in raising me. She took it as a failure on her part.

It wasn’t until my late teens that I tried to commit suicide and wound up in a hospital for a month. I went to a shrink, and HE blamed my mother, despite the fact I never told him this vile thing that happened to me.

So, all these years, she carried this burden that she had damaged me somehow. It wasn’t until I was in my late 30’s that I finally had a total and complete nervous breakdown and actually started getting real psychiatric help. To this day, I’ve not confided in my mother the vile thing. But now she knows it wasn’t her fault. Some of it was just me. I was born this way. Schizophrenic, major bi-polar, major depression with psychotic episodes and anxieties of all kinds. I even suffered through agoraphobia for a few years. It took a long time to learn to leave the house to a ‘safety zone’…and then expand that zone into more public places. I still don’t go grocery shopping at Walmart unless its 2am.

If I could tell my mother the terrible vile thing I would. But I feel like it would do even more damage to her than good. She’s old, frail, and so far away from me (She and my dad live in Guatemala as missionaries) I just couldn’t do any more harm to her than I feel I already have.

We all have regrets in life. I have more than just this. I regret how I treated my ex-husband when we first divorced. However, this is something that I actually have rectified. I apologized. When he needed someone, I was there. And when I fell apart, he was there. We are the best of friends now. I don’t know what I would do without him. Of course, yanno, still wanna kill him on occasion, but, guys will be guys.

😀

A call for old fashioned letter writing!

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Most of you know I love to practice the old school lost artform of handwritten letters.

So, I’m putting the call out there for those of you who would like to be ‘pen pals’ and ‘snail mail’ buddies.

I would like to ask for your birthday, too, because HELLO…birthday cards!!!

If you would like to be put on my little list, simply email me your info to

zoe.ambler5@gmail.com

I will keep it good, safe and confidential. And you will recieve silly little scribings from myself and cards.

Entertain me folks! Be my buddeh!

~squishes~

Literature and Mental Health

HERO BANNER

I love taking courses from this site. Its not for credits, and costs nothing, unless you want to acquire a Certificate of Participation’ document and web stamp.

The courses vary on subject, and I have completed 15 of them, and there are nearly 100, if not more, from physical and health, to nursing, to Criminology and forensics. I take these courses to broaden my knowledge, and also for research purposes.

The current course I am working on is entitled, ‘https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/literature/2/todo/5796‘.

It is so fascinating, I felt it deserved a blog post. The course exams how literature, poetry (and I would hazard a guess to add reading certain blogs) can have an impation on ones mental being. Certain literature and poetry bring out the soothing side of things.

Sometimes, it can also be harmful. If you are in a dark place mentally, it wouldnt be wise to read a bunch of dark poetry or reading material.

There are some great guest readers, such as Sir Ian McKellan, Sir Anthony Hopkins, and discussions with many poets and celebrities such as Stephen Fry and Ben Okri.

I often choose the blogs I follow and read their content for things that keep me from sliding down. Yes, I have a variety of disorders, the biggest being anxiety, Major Depression with phsychotic episodes, schizophrenia and severe bipolar disorder. I have shared in the past that I do self harm.

I have found I rely on my more upbeat bloggers to keep my head above water in time when I am doing my own writing, because, lets face it, I write some dark morbid stuff. My next book is overflowing with tragedy. I try to keep some of my stuff from getting too far off by adding humor. In my last short story, Addison was pretty much the comic relief that I needed.

But as the writing time crunch nears, I will be searching out those bloggers who post positive, happy things.

Future Learn is a great place to expand your horizons, whether for your own curiosity on a subject, or for genuine research on techniques.

Enjoy, my lovelies!

I broke myself…

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First off, lets start with the kittehs. There’s BaxterMarie with her big mouth open for a fierce looking somethingorother.

Baxter had to have emergency surgery not too long ago. I noticed she was going into heat, and well, she was less than two months old at the time. So off to the vet she went.

Come to find out, she had little cysts in her female inside parts. So, she got spayed way earlier than they like to do it.

She came through everything just fine. The vets office said ‘have her take it easy and rest.’ I laughed and said ‘have you met my cat?’.

BaxterMarie has two speeds. Sleep and wide-ass open.  Despite all the playing and jumping and shenanagans, she came through everything just fine, and Jeffrey only got scolded a few times for trying to bite too close to her incision site. He is still obsessed with her little feet.

Now, on the subject of feet. In all my lovely grace, I have fractured two bones in my left foot. All I wanted to do was go take a piddle, and I misjudged where the bathroom door was in the dark. I rammed that sucker so hard.

Now, I didnt think I actually did anything but ram it real good, and I got a big splinter between my toes that tore a chunk of skin off. But after about a half hour, the foot was throbbing and swelling. I sent a few pics of it to my daughters daddy and he offered to come get me and take me to the ER. I mean, it was 2:30- 3AM. I only live about 3 miles from the hospital here in town, so I declined the offer and drove myself.

Sure enough, I fractured two bones above my last two toes about an inch up. GRAH.

So Monday I have an appointment with a bone specialist.

The worst part of it all, is that I had to cancel a lunch date that I had been anticipating for weeks. Totally sucked. But rescheduling is no big deal, I was just looking forward to seeing my friends silly face.

So, my mobility is shot. I am coloring a lot. I am eating totally unhealthy foods that are easy to cook and dont require me standing too long. Sleep is uncomfortable because even with the sucky pain meds given, there is a constant ache in my foot. Oh, and I have to keep my two toes taped together, and because of the chunk of skin missing, I have to clean it with alcohol and shove gauze in there too. Fun. Yeah.

So, in light of that blunder, I have put a nightlight in the hallway so I can see. I have a regular light in the hall, but never used it. In all my time living in this house, nothing like that has ever happened. And I dont like using the hall light because the daughter sleeps with her door open for the cats and the light would hit her in the face.

Yeah, my house needs child-proofing for my protection…lol.

We have love…

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Jeffrey Jones has taken to loving BaxterMarie into the family.

Both has to visit the vet today for different reasons. Both are healthy, however.

I swear, come 3AM, its like the Talladega Motor Speedway up in this house with the way the two of them tear through it chasing and playing with each other.

The above picture though, well, its a special moment. Its the first time they have cuddled and slept together. Jeffrey was in the seat first, and BaxterMarie jumped up there. At first Jeff didnt now what to make of it, but as he isnt feeling up to par, he just went with it.

In other news, I have broken the 50000 word count goal of NaNoWriMo already, but still have SO much work to do for Book Two. ~sigh~

In gaming, well, I think I have totally lost faith in people and those games. Perhaps I set my expectations and hopes too high on people, especially people who were once close friends or who have indicated that they wished to pursue more things with my characters and theirs, and then leave me high and dry.

Back to NaNoWriMo – this past weekend was our regular Write In on Saturday, but we followed up with a Mid-Way Party of sorts. I just brought some extra goodies and pizza. I love this eclectic group of people who come in for the events. Sometimes we dont see the same faces, but there has been one constant face there that makes me giggle. I, of course, end up chatting more than writing. Or cracking jokes. Or, well, just being me…me and my weirdness. To know me is to love me. Or wanna push me off a brigde 😛

I hope you  are all doing well in both your lives and your ventures, whatever they may be. If you are a Wrimo, well, WRITE ON!!

Be sweet, my darlings! ~squishes~

Feeling less than…

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It has not been a good year for me at all. I’ve been trying to smile and trudge on. I laugh, I distract myself from my pains, I try to entertain others.
But sometimes it becomes a crushing weight.
Especially when someone you love intentionally makes you feel lower than they already know you feel.
I was hurt today, deeply. I got angry. Very angry. My feelings for this person have been changing over time, and today seemed like a big impact on that.
This person hurts me all the time, and makes me feel less than. And I allow it, like a fool. I guess its an abusive relationship in some way. I’m too comfortable in my own misery to leave it.
I am beginning to hate this person. Okay, maybe hate is too strong a word. I dislike this person. And yet, they are the first to tell me its all my fault.
And not just things between us.
Everything.
If anything is ever wrong in my world, this person tells me how its my own fault.
Making me feel less than.
I know when I am wrong and when I am not. And when I am, or realize I am, I apologize for it. I do so sincerely. I dont need what I did rubbed in my face. Salt in an open wound. Someone hurting me further just for the sake of hurting me, knowing I have more than that single issue to deal with or bringing me pain.
I could throw so many thing in this persons face. Their actions, their words. But I dont. I used to, yes, but I realized, why? What is the point? It goes in one ear and out the other. This person is convinced they are never wrong about anything, and that I am at fault in some way.
So, I am settling.
Less than.
Blargh.
Enough meloncholy from me.
I have movies to discuss, returning tomorrow night. I’ve watched some really strange ones. And, totally unknown to me, they tie to Edgar Allan Poe in some way. Totally unintentional. Another weird little instance of Mr Poe creeping in…I just bought an Edgar Allan Poe ‘action figure’ before sitting down with my lovely subscription to Netflix…how weird is that? Mr Poe loves me from the grave at least.
I will try to be more upbeat tomorrow.
Lemme be a sad panda.