Friday, March 31, 2006

Friday Shorts

Still no new contract from the website I hope to be writing and blogging for. Development on the site is still pending until I hear back. That site will go away when and if this contract comes together. But it's been 2 months, I'm starting to wonder if it will ever come together...


Had an interesting revelation the other day. Bipolars are notoriously bad sleepers. We get by on very little sleep. Unless we're exceptionally depressed, then we don't get out of bed. But anyway... I have come to the realization that I do best on 5.5 to 6.5 hours of sleep a night. When I get over 6.5 hours I dream and sleep restlessly. I wake up feeling shredded. But 5.5 to 6.5 hours, I feel best. Still not good, Lamictal headaches and mind fog in the morning are a bitch, but it's still better than too much sleep.


Speaking of sleep, I've been waking every morning with a song stuck in my head. I get up and have to play it. This week it's been Wilco's "Jesus Etc.", Steely Dan's "Any Major Dude", The Subdudes "Late At Night", and a few others that don't immediately come to mind. My wife is used to it, with both my son and myself, she knows if we play music in the morning, it will be a good day for us. And therefore a better day for her...


What happens when a psychiatrist and a hooker spend the night together?
In the morning each of them says: "120 dollars, please."


Sorry I haven't gotten around to commenting on other blogs. If it's on my link-list, I absolutely check in every few days. But I don't always comment. That doesn't mean I don't care what you're going through. Someone may have already given more words of wisdom than I'll EVER have, or it may already be 2 in the morning with a 6:00 wake-up, or whatever. But do know I'm thinking about you all.


For those reading this blog, I do allow anonymous comments. Please don't hesitate to leave comments. If you want me to give my opinion on something, I'd be happy to. I have an opinion on everything, and this blog is evidence I'll share it even if you're not interested.


Two elderly couples were enjoying friendly conversation when one of them asked the other, "Fred, how was the memory clinic you went to last month?"

"Outstanding," Fred replied. "They taught us all the latest psychological techniques - visualization, association - it made a huge difference for me."

"That's great! What was the name of the clinic?"

Fred went blank He thought and thought, but couldn't remember. Then a smile broke across his face and he asked, "What do you call that flower with the long stem and thorns?"

"You mean a rose?"

"Yes, that's it!" He turned to his wife. . ."Rose, what was the name of that clinic?"


I hope everyone has a GREAT weekend!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Any Major Dude Will Tell You

I never seen you looking so bad my funky one
You tell me that your superfine mind has come undone

Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you my friend
Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again
When the demon is at your door
In the morning it won't be there no more
Any major dude will tell you

Have you ever seen a squonk's tears? Well, look at mine
The people on the street have all seen better times

Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you my friend
Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again
When the demon is at your door
In the morning it won't be there no more
Any major dude will tell you

I can tell you all I know, the where to go, the what to do
You can try to run but you can't hide from what's inside of you

Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you my friend
Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again
When the demon is at your door
In the morning it won't be there no more
Any major dude will tell you

Steely Dan
Any Major Dude Will Tell You
Pretzel Logic
©1974 MCA Music Publishing, a division of Universal Studios, Inc. (ASCAP).

Monday, March 27, 2006

My Wife Talked!

Actually, my wife talks all the time. She'll follow me to the bathroom, I shut the door directly in her face, and she continues to talk through the bathroom door. But tonight I finally got her to open up.

She has refused to give her opinion on my meds. It's always been entirely up to me, my life, my decision. Finally tonight I sat her down and made her see that it's me vs 7 other people in a quality of life question. That's a no-brainer. If the family is happier, if she is happier, then it's a done deal. She finally admitted, after relentless grilling by me, that things are easier for the family when I'm on meds. OK - I can deal with this. She did say I'm cycling more quickly, which isn't necessarily good, and gave me a little more insight. I appreciated her input.

I see my pdoc in a week. I'm going to lay this all out, and see what direction I should go.

Damn, I sound like such a basket case. Yes, no, up down, confident, doubting...

Thanks to all for your comments, emails, and support.

Memory Loss

I am experiencing significant memory loss. Mostly short term, but long term also. I can't remember what I worked on Friday. I can't remember what we talked about in meetings last week. I can't remember what we did Saturday, the wife and I. For long term, if I try to remember what my best friends looked like in high school, what our house looked like, and so forth, I can't remember. Long term may be happening anyway, and may not be a good example, but it is a real problem for me. But my short term memory is ABSOLUTELY affected. This is scary. I can't afford to lose this, particularly with my job.

I have been doing some research on this, and I have read that memory loss can occur with meds like Lamictal, but it generally returns once moods stabilize. Frankly, I don't think I can wait, or am willing to gamble that it returns. I hope that permanent damage hasn't already been done.

I'm going to talk to my wife, but I'm fairly certain I'm going to be med-free very soon here.

I don't think things are going to be bad without meds. I'm not normally suicidal, so that's a very minor risk. My hypomanias are controlled, I'm not one who will die of a drug overdose or alcohol poisoning while chasing a high. I'm cognizant of my moods, I am understanding of what happens to me, and I'm becoming more knowledgeable about the disorder itself. That understanding and knowledge should allow me to react accordingly to the people around me. And afterall, that is the ONLY reason I'm on meds - the people around me.

This may all change after I talk to my wife and sleep on it, but I really doubt it.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Another Music Meme

Saw this on I Am Gen and Pax Nortona - A Blog by Joel Sax.

Since Joel took The Beatles, I had to go with Steely Dan. "The Dan" is a band that you won't appreciate until you sit down and listen past the "pop hooks". The 2 main members of the band, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, create intricate songs that combine rock, elements of jazz, and biting, satirical lyrics. They surround them with "pop" wrappings, and that's one thing many can't get past. But listen deeper to what's underneath. If you listen from a musician's point of view, it's incredibly complex, with difficult chord changes and unusual arrangements. Some purists don't like it because it's purely studio - crafted and blended until perfection. But on every listen I find something else that amazes and delights me.

Choose a band/artist and answer ONLY in titles of their songs.

1. Are you male or female?
Third World Man

2. Describe yourself:
Charlie Freak

3. How do some people feel about you:
Only A Fool Would Say That

4. How do you feel about yourself:
Monkey In Your Soul

5. Describe your ex boyfriend/girlfriend:
The Boston Rag

6. Describe your current significant other:
Pearl Of The Quarter

7. Describe where you want to be:
New Frontier

8. Describe how you live:
Night By Night

9. Describe how you love:
The Fez (Never gonna do it without the Fez on...)

10. What would you ask for if you had just one wish
Time Out Of Mind

11. Share a few words of wisdom:
Any Major Dude Will Tell You

12. Now say goodbye:
Change Of The Guard

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Self Medicating

I don't mind saying, the last week has been a total bitch. Anxiety has been high, energy level rising, but not in a positive way. Nervous tics are out of control, and my face, head, and scalp feels like tight cluster of clenched muscles. It's not pleasant at all.

I fully understand why bipolars and others with mental disorders are so apt to self-medicate. Psych meds are designed for long term results. When feelings like this arise, we crave something immediate that can relieve our discomfort or suffering. Today I'm sitting in my chair fidgeting, shaking my legs, and trying hard to sit still and concentrate. It's a losing battle. For some reason I don't want to drink, but if there were other drugs around, I would be tempted to do almost anything to get rid of this feeling. It's better today than it has been, but still bad. If I was 20 years old, I guarantee I'd be outside torching a bowl right now. Instead, I try to do it on willpower alone. Even if I knew where to find weed anymore, I'm job hunting right now. I KNOW I'd get a great offer contingent on a drug test if I went that route.

At least I can put the headphones on and work to music. Today Radio Paradise has gone from Miles Davis with Taj Mahal and John Lee Hooker to Stevie Wonder to Paul Simon. A few songs later, The Psychedelic Furs and Porcupine Tree. Music absolutely helps soothe the beast in me.

Another 2 weeks till my next P-doc appointment. I hope there's something he can suggest that can help with this. I may work through it by then, but if not I'll be climbing walls and trying to score SOMETHING.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Snow Day

While we didn't get nearly as much as they said we would get, it was still a significant snowstorm on the first day of spring.

The girls had a great time building a snow "Miss America". Notice the sash (partially snowed over), and the hair.

Here's a picture I took of my neighbor shoveling his walk. I took this picture to send to my colleagues over in India - they really have no concept of snow, and what we do with it. My neighbor and his wife leave for Indonesia tomorrow on a scuba diving trip. You don't think he was enjoying this snow...

While they're saying another foot of snow, I don't see that. It appears we're pretty much done. And that's really too bad, I was hoping for a snow day tomorrow.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

What Is It About Kansas?

I may alienate some with this post, as I know there are several regular readers that hail from Kansas. Kansas has a lot to offer - Lawrence is a little cultural mecca in the Heartland. And Kansas City (partially in Kansas) brought us some of the world's greatest jazz and barbecue. Count Basie hit his stride in KC. But the intolerance that oozes out of Kansas is mind-boggling.

Families Seek Legislative Remedies From Funeral Protesters

The Kansas-based church, which believes God is punishing America for its tolerance of homosexuality by sending home U.S. soldiers "in body bags," chose as one of its most recent demonstration sites the funeral of Army Staff Sgt. Lance Chase, 32, father of two sons, who died from a roadside bomb while on duty in Iraq on Jan. 23. On Sunday, Westboro's adherents traveled to Yankton, S.D., to the memorial service for 21-year-old Army National Guard Spc. Allen D. Kokesh, Jr.

These people are demonstrating at and disrupting funerals of fallen soldiers.

... signs held by members that Feb. 2 were dutifully noted ...: "Steve held 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers,' 'You're Going to Hell' and 'Fags Doom Nations' while Shirl held 'America is Doomed,' 'God is America's Terror' and 'Don't Worship the Dead' with a flag tied around her waist."

There's more:

Westboro Baptist Church, an independent congregation of about 75 people, has been picketing in the Kansas area for years, often choosing memorial services for AIDS victims. But the group has recently made national headlines by traveling to places like Oklahoma and Tennessee, bringing their anti-gay rhetoric to the memorials for soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Congregation members also picketed outside of the funerals for the 12 West Virginia miners who perished after a mine explosion in January.

Asked what the church expected to accomplish by upsetting grieving families, Phelps explained they are on a mission, and that it is their right to be there.

"We are delivering a message. God is punishing this nation and he is using the IED as his weapon of choice," she said, referring to the improvised explosive devices that have killed many of the U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq since 2003. At least 2,255 American military personnel have died in Iraq since the war began.


But how to stop it? Legislation? That tramples on the first amendment, doesn't it?

... lawmakers like Schodorf of Kansas, state Sen. Mike Friend of Nebraska and others say they will work with constitutional experts to ensure any laws they draft will withstand a legal challenge from the group.

"I believe it's constitutional," said Schodorf, who said her proposal to keep protesters 300 feet from any funeral or memorial service would supplement an existing statute that bans protests an hour before and two hours after these events.

Schodorf said a constitutional attorney will be guiding the process, and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has promised to sign the bill once it passes the Legislature.

"We're having trouble finding the balance but we think we can do it," said Friend, regarding the Nebraska proposal, which is still being molded to fit constitutional concerns.

"We're trying to keep the people who are mourning from being subjected to this stuff, and prevent any potential violence that could break out," he said.

Ed Yohnka of the American Civil Liberties Union in Illinois, another state considering a restriction on funeral picketing, said his organization wants to work with legislators to ensure their measures don't cross the fine line between constructive regulation and violations of free speech.

"We're talking to legislators and governors. While their aims are good and may be viewed as compassionate and perfectly appropriate for many reasons, how do we get there in terms of being constitutional" is the challenge, he added.

What rock to these people crawl out from under to disrupt the funeral of someone's child? A fallen soldier? No matter how a person feels about the war, or gays, or anything else, these actions are miles beyond ANY definition of indecency.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Basket Case

I'm a basket case today. I'm sitting here with the "jimmy legs" big time. I'm full of nervous energy. And I do mean nervous. My nervous tics are back with a vengeance. My 7 year old said to me yesterday "Daddy! You can wiggle your ears!" And I wasn't trying to do that. My face is tense, my body is tense, and I have no real reason to feel this way. I'm wondering if a muscle relaxant, or something similar, might help this.

Karen's mother is living with us now, and Karen and I have butted heads about this several times. She says I've been a real asshole lately, and to get used to it, because her mom isn't going anywhere. I'm trying to adjust, and it's been much more difficult than I ever antipated. We have newspapers all over the house, dishes all over, dirty tissues dropped everywhere, and so forth. Also, her walker is too wide to fit through the main bathroom door and she has to use the bathroom in our room. Karen set up a portable stool in her bedroom, but that's the most disgusting thought I've ever encountered, to think she's sitting in her own bedroom letting loose. And who's cleaning up that portable stool? I guarantee my wife is. She wouldn't tell me about it, knowing I'd be upset. They moved our TV and surround sound system from our rec room to the upstairs living room, just stacked the stuff around, and pulled the chairs and couch close to the TV. We have a huge living room with all the furniture pulled to one side, and a surround sound system with all the speakers in one pile. I am so pissed about this I can't begin to express it. I try to express my feelings and am informed that I'm a jerk for not being supportive. So I try to suck it in, not say anything, and let things continue as they are. My wife would go through the rest of her life living "temporarily" like this. It just drives me fricking CRAZY. I told her that at the bare minimum we need an entertainment center for the upstairs, and another TV for down, but I doubt we'll get either. Instead, we have a TV sitting on a small bookshelf, and a sound system piled on top of itself. It sucks.

Is my irritation showing? I try to express this at home, and I'm called an ungrateful prick. I don't mind her being around, I really don't. I just don't think we should have to settle for such a drastic quality of life change for this reason. I think my wife should stand up for things more, and insist her mom pay for the necessary changes we have to make. I certainly can't say it, my opinion doesn't count here. I do know that things have to change. I can't take this forever.

That's likely one component of my anxiety, maybe ALL of my anxiety. More to discuss, but that needs to come later.


I appreciate the comments. I feel guilty for having these feelings. I've always known my mother in law would move in with us at some point, so I really don't mind having her here. She's been very good to us over the years, financially and otherwise. My wife is doing all the work caring for her, and I don't like that either. If all her time and energy is spent caring for her mother, our time is going to suffer. There's a lot of frustration right now with both of us, and mine spilled out into my blog. I wonder where my wife's is going? She tore into me the other day, there's ONE place it's going...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Dragging Ass

Dragging ass like a motherfucker. Big time blocked, too. I'm down, I'm slow, I couldn't put two meaningful words together right now to save my life. And if it's not obvious, I'm not getting around to visit and comment other blogs. Sorry, all.

And a full moon, too. Go figure.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Concentration Issues

Lately it's been more and more difficult to concentrate. I've always suspected I'm somewhat ADD, but often think I'm somewhat martian, too. This week has been particularly difficult. I do my best work in the late afternoon / evening, which means after the work day is essentially done. Remember the line from Office Space? "I'd say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work." It seems that way for me sometimes.

I suppose one reason is my job isn't holding my attention any more. Or is that merely a justification? I truly love to program, to sit down, block out the world, and allow my mind the luxury of unrestrained, logical, thought. It's wonderful. But these days that luxury is long gone. I'd say in a given week, I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, programming. I tell my team in India how they should program, test their programs (I HATE testing), and spend the majority of my time cleaning up issues caused by my colleagues overseas. Not that I'm complaining, my job still exists because I'm needed to handle those exact issues.

But where was I going with this? Oh yeah, concentration. (Slap myself on the forehead).

I've applied for an internal posting. Not coding, unfortunately. It's time for me to grow professionally, and step out of that comfortable box. This will be a sink-or-swim venture. I'll succeed, and move up quickly, or I'll sink like a stone and drown. It's as a single point of contact in a technical capacity. I would coordinate all technical operations - between the client and the call centers, including call routing and phone issues, between the client and sales, between the client and development, and so forth. Project management, product management, and client management. It sounds like a bitch, but it also sounds like something a bipolar personality could really sink their teeth into, doesn't it? It's sounding like a 75% chance I'll nab this one. Be that good or bad...

Another way my concentration is failing - right now I should be working on a program for a web site I'm building. I looked forward to it all day at work, and I get home and can't do it. That's life in my world.

Enough me-me-me. It's helpful, but must be incredibly boring for everyone else. I promise to try harder...

Bill Maher's Rules For 2006

By now you've probably all received this by email from people you haven't talked to in person for years. I received it from my brother, and it was credited to George Carlin. These days if I receive ANYTHING credited to George Carlin, I jump immediately to Snopes to check it out. Ditto Ted Nugent. Ditto General Norman Schwartzkopf. Ditto Ollie North. Ditto Rush. No, scratch Rush. NOTHING he says surprises me anymore, and I really don't care enough to spend the time researching something he might have said. But anyway.

A little disclaimer. Because I might think this is funny doesn't mean I necessarily agree with it, but it also doesn't mean I don't. I have a very active and sick sense of humor, and exercise it whenever I can.

Updated Rules for 2006:

New Rule:
Stop giving me that pop-up ad for! There's a reason you don't talk to people for 25 years. Because you don't particularly like them! Besides, I already know what the captain of the football team is doing these days: mowing my lawn.

New Rule:
Don't eat anything that's served to you out a window unless you're a seagull. People are acting all shocked that a human finger was found in a bowl of Wendy's chili. Hey, it cost less than a dollar. What did you expect it to contain? Trout?

New Rule:
Stop saying that teenage boys who have sex with their hot, blonde teachers are permanently damaged. I have a better description for these kids: lucky bastards.

New Rule:
If you need to shave and you still collect baseball cards, you're a dope. If you're a kid, the cards are keepsakes of your idols. If you're a grown man, they're pictures of men.

New Rule:
Ladies, leave your eyebrows alone. Here's how much men care about your eyebrows: do you have two of them? Okay, we're done.

New Rule:
There's no such thing as flavored water. There's a whole aisle of this crap at the supermarket, water, but without that watery taste. Sorry, but flavored water is called a soft drink. You want flavored water? Pour some scotch over ice and let it melt. That's your flavored water.

New Rule:
Stop messing with old people. Target is introducing a redesigned pill bottle that's square, with a bigger label. And the top is now the bottom. And by the time grandpa figures out how to open it, his ass will be in the morgue. Congratulations, Target, you just solved the Social Security crisis.

New Rule:
The more complicated the Starbucks order, the bigger the ass hole. If you walk into a Starbucks and order a "decaf grande half-soy, half-low fat, iced vanilla, double-shot, gingerbread cappuccino, extra dry, light ice, with one Sweet-n'-Low and one NutraSweet," ooh, you're a huge ass hole.

New Rule:
I'm not the cashier! By the time I look up from sliding my card, entering my PIN number, pressing Enter," verifying the amount, deciding, no, I don't want cash back, and pressing "Enter" again, the kid who is supposed to be ringing me up is standing there eating my Almond Joy.

New Rule:
Just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn't make you spiritual. It's right above the crack of your butt. And it translates to "beef with broccoli." The last time you did anything spiritual, you were praying to God you weren't pregnant. You're not spiritual. You're just high.

New Rule:
Competitive eating isn't a sport. It's one of the seven deadly sins. ESPN recently televised the US Open of Competitive Eating, because watching those athletes at the poker table was just too damned exciting. What's next, competitive farting? Oh wait. They're already doing that. It's called "The Howard Stern Show."

New Rule:
I don't need a bigger mega M&M. If I'm extra hungry for M&Ms, I'll go nuts and eat two.

New Rule:
If you're going to insist on making movies based on crappy, old television shows, then you have to give everyone in the Cineplex a remote so we can see what's playing on the other screens. Let's remember the reason something was a television show in the first place is that the idea wasn't good enough to be a movie.

New Rule:
No more gift registries. You know, it used to be just for weddings. Now it's for babies and new homes and graduations from rehab. Picking out the stuff you want and having other people buy it for you isn't gift giving, it's the white people version of looting.

New Rule:
When I ask how old your toddler is, I don't need to know in months. "27 Months." "He's two," will do just fine. He's not a cheese. And I didn't really care in the first place.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Girl Scout Cookies

This has nothing to do with bipolar, but it's on my mind.

The grade school my girls attend is in a nice neighborhood, but it's a 1960s neighborhood. This means it's in the first transition. Back in the 60s and 70s, there were kids EVERYWHERE. Now, there are still many original home owners, and not nearly as many kids. Younger couples are buying newer houses in suburbs rather than in established neighborhoods. The neighborhood school is suffering from declining enrollment as a result. So our school district has made our neighborhood school a "school of international studies" and a "magnet school". The school district provides free transportation from lower income neighborhoods to students who choose to attend this school. It's a great way to help attain necessary integration. This is VERY cool, as it gives my girls the opportunity for a diverse educational experience.

My wife is a girl scout leader, both for my youngest daughter's Brownie troop, and my older daughter's Girl Scout troop. And of course, it's cookie time. The people in her troops are a diverse mix just like the school. Once again, very cool. But cookie time brings problems. Last year we had a young mother whose daughter sold several hundred dollars worth of cookies. The money disappeared. The young scout's mother died 2 days later from an overdose. It was tragic. The grandmother stepped in and made up the shortage, but she worked at Walmart and didn't have an extra $200 plus to spare. Along with that, she now had the extra burden of raising the young girl. A local business owner heard the story, stepped in, and paid the shortage. It was a very classy thing for him to do, and I respect him greatly for it. The girl is still involved in the scout troop, and loves it.

This year, we have another problem. Not to the magnitude of last year's, thank goodness. But we have a mother, always red-eyed, and always with shaking hands. She is a self-admitted meth addict. My wife is not able to collect money from her for their cookie sales. She's being pleasant, calling with reminders such as "we'll have someone home all day today if you want to drop off the money, or let me know if it would be more convenient for me to pick it up". Today, the mother's phone was disconnected. Luckily, it's not a lot of money, less than $100. My family or the troop will make it up, but you can't just let it go. That money is important to the troop, my wife's troops pay the girl's yearly fees out of cookie money as some of the parents just can't handle an extra $20 fee.

So they're left with a problem. Do they kick the girl out of scouts? That wouldn't be right, her home situation is obviously difficult, and the scouts could be a huge positive influence on her. You hate to make the girl pay for her mother's problems. And you don't want the girl to be uncomfortable around the others, so you try very hard to shelter the youngster from the situation. But the mother needs to know this can't be tolerated. The scouts will take legal action if necessary, but my wife won't turn her in. She'll cover it instead. We'll ask for payments, and may get one or two, but won't get them all. At least it's not enough money to bring about another OD.

Thinking about this, we're pretty damn fortunate. This is our biggest worry today, and we're not in a position where we are on the opposite side of this issue. I just wish everyone was so lucky.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Formatting Issues?

Real quick post here.

I would appreciate knowing if the picture I have displayed in my prevous post is throwing off my blog's formatting for any of you. If you notice that my links have slid down to the bottom, or there are other formatting issues, please take a moment and leave a comment to this post. I can resize the image if that's the case.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I started at the bottom of my list tonight, and see that Jil at Wild Abandon tagged me for the desktop screenprint. I don't usually participate in these, call me a stick-in-the-mud, but I am enjoying seeing everyone's desktop. So I will share also. Mine is a "Google Maps" aerial photo of my neighborhood. My girl's grade school is at the bottom of the picture, and my boy's high school is just off the picture to the upper left. I marked our house for the girls so they could recognize where everthing was. It's been fun for them to look at this.

Back for more later...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Lunch Today

Since I so rarely see Kyle (21 year old bipolar son) at home anymore, I make a point to see him at lunch from time to time. He works at a restaurant about 2 blocks away from my office, so I walk over every 2 weeks or so. It makes me feel good to see him and shake his hand (I'd hug him if he'd let me). It's such a success story for him. He doesn't see it that way, he EXPECTS to have a job, and expects it to come as easily as it does for the rest of our family. Of course, nothing about Kyle getting and holding a job comes easily. But he looks so confident when I see him there, and it's obvious he's proud for me to see him there.

It's just one of those things, those successes that bring tears to the eyes of a parent. Success is relative to the person, and I'm every bit as proud of Kyle as I would be of my oldest landing his dream job at Rolling Stone or FHM, or my youngest meeting his goal of graduating from tech school.

Friday, March 03, 2006

NAMI Meeting

The wife and I went to another NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill meeting last night. I always leave those meetings feeling optimistic and thankful. We sat in the "loved ones" support group, and after seeing what some of these parents are going through I am so thankful. It could be SO much worse. Our son Kyle is in great shape compared to some of the others. So many are schizophrenic, and that seems like such a cruel disorder. So many have been hospitalized or institutionalized, and he hasn't. In fact, most seem to be in and out of hospitals and treatment centers.

One parent asked if there was any possibility of a "normal" life. I wanted to stand up and say "yes there is, look at me", but I am still doubting that I'm really bipolar. I express these feelings to my wife, and she says "Puh-lease. How many examples do you want?" She reminds me of how easy she makes my life, and she does. She protects me from the myriad of things that I find difficult or impossible. She is always there for me. She is patient and understanding. But I digress. My life has been enjoyable and relatively trouble free. I have had many successes in my life, but I've also had some significant failures. I've never have a dime to my name, but I've never been hospitalized, and I've never been arrested. I fit in very well with society. Mostly. So obviously my bipolar is NOT NEARLY as severe as most.

I think back to when I was younger. Using drugs, abusing alcohol. I can't help but wonder if I'd been arrested or caught, if my folks would have sent me for rehab or evaluation. Wondering if that would have started a spiral like I've seen with so many people. I had it easy at home, my folks knew I drank, and more or less condoned it. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it was a far different world then. And I do believe as they do, that there is NOTHING wrong with moderate alcohol use for most people. Legal drinking age in our area was 18 at that time, and I drove drunk often. Very often. One unfortunate accident or incident at that time could also have caused a long-term spiral.

So am I just lucky that I've had a great life so far? Or is my bipolar so mild that I've not faced major issues? Or do I not even have it?

I'm still looking for the answers like everyone else out there.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Sensory Stimulation

Is this a bipolar thing, or is this a Jon thing?

I need sensory stimulation. Always have. If I sit down, I reach for whatever is within reach to read. These days I have a computer within reach of virtually every chair I use. If it's not a computer, or book, then it's TV. And music is a given - it's always on. I used to even go to bed with headphones on. When we were dating, many years ago, my wife used to hide all reading material in her house so she could have my undivided attention.

When I sit outside and relax in the sunshine, it's with a cigar and a drink. To do it completely empty handed would be unthinkable. When I'm camping, it's the same way. I'm smoking a cigar while tying hair rigs and staring at my fishing pole. When I'm walking or biking, I'm scanning the grass, and the woods, and the trees for some sign of wildlife. I'm looking in the creeks and lakes for a glimpse of a fish. If it's just grass, I look for snakes to watch or catch. When I'm sitting on the stool, I'm reading or playing minesweeper on my handheld. I'm either being bombarded with stimulii, or I'm asleep.

There are 2 exceptions to this. Kind of. When I lay down to sleep these days, I relish the time. It's an opportunity for my mind to bombard me with stimulii. I just relax and open up my mind and see where it takes me. It's still sensory stimulation, but done internally. And when I shower, I use that time to think. I used to set up a boombox for every shower, now it's purely mind time. Of course, I can do that because my senses are being soothed by the warm water beating down.

I watch others sit down, relax, and just zone out. I can't do that. I don't envy them, I just don't understand them. There is so much to do and experience, why do nothing?

So - is this typical? Or is this just Jon accustomed to a life more hypomanic than not?