Tuesday, January 7, 2014

"But I Know Which Way I'd Run To, If the Choice Was Mine...."

It's always refreshing for someone with bipolar disorder to have one's depressive episodes reduced to simply being a "bad mood." Sort of goes along with that whole "Snap out of it!" mentality, which is completely unjustified and unfair. As I said in my last blog, it's not uncommon for a bipolar patient to slip into a depressive state when he/she gets really sick, and I was really sick. I'm no longer really sick, though still coughing, but my mood, I believe, is currently relatively stable.

Sure, it's helped tremendously that Luke has been home with me since Saturday and we've had no school the last 2 days due to the extreme cold here in Chicago (-40 wind chills!) and I feel a little safer from the wrath of my mother's rage. This is pretty much what we all look like when we go outside:



She was so upset over my bank statement not balancing when she went to do the reconciliation (who the fuck does those anymore? It's all online or at the ATM!) and it didn't balance, why, I don't know, as I thought I'd recorded every penny I'd spent, that she did this with her dinner the other night, before slamming the door with her coat on and going to get some fresh air or something. A tad over the top, no? (Like it's any of her goddamn business where I spend the money I loaned out off of which to live while I'm in graduate school.)
Yum! 




The next day, angry because there was a sticky spot on one of the stairs while she was vacuuming, hoisted and threw the vacuum cleaner up the stairs. She screams profanities that make me sound like an angel in comparison. You have to understand: with her, everything is somebody's fault, but never her own. There is a reason, in her mind, why everything goes wrong, but it's not by her doing, and whomever is responsible should be subject to ridicule, shouting, snarky remarks, insults or, in her worst spells, a slap. I've armchair diagnosed her with having Borderline Personality Disorder or some type of schizo-affective disorder, but I need a more professional opinion. Unfortunately, she'd sooner die of a stroke from stress than see a psychiatrist.

Only sick, crazy people actually go see psychiatrists, and all they do is fill you up with drugs. She's therapist-resistant too, and sees a social worker (who's not actually a therapist) maybe (MAYBE) once every 3-4 months, which anyone will tell you is not effective, consistent treatment. Much of this I blame on her age and generation, and still maintain that it's one of the chief reasons my father just kept drinking instead of receiving proper treatment for what I still strongly believe was his own bipolar disorder. (I've put the pieces together in blogs before, and I'm almost 100% sure.) I told my own psychiatrist today, after showing her the dish photo, what was happening and she agreed that my parent needs treatment and medications on a permanent basis. I agree with her.



Don't think I'm so stupid that I haven't sent the picture of the dish to anyone I know who might be concerned with my safety and well-being. Luke and I really have no means out, unless some anticipated funding comes through to me in the next several months. It's this or go live in a shelter. So we put up with it. Interestingly, she NEVER does this when Luke is here. Only when I'm home alone with her.  I think she knows that if she pulled this crap while Luke was home, SHE would be the one suffering the wrath of my highly protective, Papa Bear son. And that could get ugly. We really have nowhere else to go until I graduate in a year and a half. I'm not sure how much longer all 3 of us can stand living like this, though. 

My mom claims that if it wasn't for the fact that Luke and I live here and she has to take care of us, like we're unable to take care of ourselves, she'd be "living like a queen," traveling the world, and much happier, but that she had to take us in and that kills her buzz. She lives modestly. She travels once or twice a year. I hardly think she'd be living like "Downton Abbey" if Luke and I weren't here. That's just another mindfuck to make me feel guilty and downtrodden for "invading" her house when we lost our apartment due to the landlord's foreclosure on the property. Living like a queen....my ass. I'm sorry I ruined her retirement. We'll be out of the way as soon as we can and then what? She'll get all depressed and cry a lot because we're NOT here and she'll have little purpose in life other than, of course, traveling the world (mmm hmm). 

My car won't start. It just goes click-click when you turn on the ignition. The headlights work, the defrost and radio work, but methinks I need a new starter. I wanted it to be towed to the mechanic's today to either get a jump from a neighbor or have the mechanic fix it, but my mom won't let me until the temperature is 20 degrees warmer. IF it doesn't start then, I can call the mechanic. So like not until Friday. Because a tow costs money, which I have. So what the hell? And WHY do I even listen to her? Why don't I just bloody tow the car because it's my car and I'm paying the tow and likely the repairs. Because I'm scared, I think that's why. And at age 41, I shouldn't be, except I need a roof over my head.


Never mind that I have errands to run, I need to bug my mom for a ride to the train to school, and it makes it difficult to haul Luke around where he needs to go, oh, and I have band this weekend. I am most displeased about the whole situation, because I view it as a power move on my mom's part. If I went with my gut and called a tow truck today, I could GET that new battery or starter by tomorrow. Alas... 

A friend emailed me the other day, "It takes less energy to be positive." 

Um, no.

For someone with my condition, it takes 200% more energy to be and stay positive than it does the average person and that's no bullshit. I told him it takes enough energy just to be happy about something for a period of cetain happiness for any great length. Mania doesn't bring "happiness," that's a fallacy. It wears you out. Sure, there's the delusion of grandeur, the go-go-go on no sleep & seeming euphoria that go along with mania, but as I've said, it comes crashing down if you don't stabilize. I understand that makes people like me probably quite difficult to live with but my God in heaven, at least I'm NICE about it and my "bad moods" don't involve deliberately hurting other people. If I'm in a depressive state and want to be alone, I just do so with no gruff from my son. Not everyone else I know is on board with this. Professors are, as well they should be in a psychology school. Doctors and therapists are empathetic, as are a handful of friends. Some people avoid me, which is okay, but sometimes makes matters worse, as I tend to take it as a character flaw of my own rather than the person being often times slightly frightened of a depressed person. 

Depression takes work. Lots of it.  It takes energy to get out of bed, to shower, to get dressed, to eat. It takes energy to defend yourself from the crap you're dealing with on a daily basis. Sometimes none of us--not just people with depression--have that energy. So yes, I corrected my friend on his invalid assumption. I haven't heard a rebuttal, so I assume he got my point. I'm not just calling whine-one-one on this matter. 

Between my recent illness, a solo Christmas and boring new year' eve, I'm itching to get out of the house even if it's just to go to the store or something. I can tell you first-hand that Chicago's in the middle of facing its most brutal winter in 3 decades, with scant relief in sight come late this weekend (read: temperatures above 30). We were buried in about 2 feet of snow, then hit with a cold spell that's still making it unbearable to be outside and has closed schools and businesses, delayed flights, messed up trains and buses and caused widespread misery all across our great city and outlying areas. Temperatures reached a high of -16 yesterday, with -40 below wind chills, and today we cracked one plus degree, though still with wind chills in the -20's. All this cloistering in the house with my family would've been made impossible without Luke, so for that, I'm very grateful. (And he and his buddy dug my car out, for naught). 

So, stable but in a state of flux. A militia at home. 

I hope everyone's staying warm and feeling loved.








5 comments:

Kate said...

"It takes less energy to be positive." Who said that? Mickey Mouse? Because you would have to live in Disney World to believe that. In the real world , where you might hear the news, like the fact that there have been recent uprisings in Iraq , two years after the last soldier was pulled out of there, it's hard to put a big smile on your face. If you are going to be engaged in life , there are going to be great things and then there is going to be heartbreak. If you ignore either , you are not really alive. On top of that , if you have a chemical disorder ,
and your brain can't pick your mood , it is extremely difficult to be positive . I think you are amazing Andrea. Even when you are very down , you always look and find ways to amuse people on your Facebook page.
When I met you , I knew you were one of the wittiest people I had ever met. You are like Steven Fry. He is hilarious. You both were born with the gift of wit. That doesn't mean you feel happy all the time. That means the way you choose to express yourself is more often than not very sophisticated and humorous and makes people laugh. Even when you are depressed you still want to make other people laugh.
People who don't have the chemical imbalance you do ,don't care half as much as you do about your friends. I would say it's harder to be real , and face what life hands you than to try to be happy or positive because it makes other people more comfortable.

Kate said...

"It takes less energy to be positive." Who said that? Mickey Mouse? Because you would have to live in Disney World to believe that. In the real world , where you might hear the news, like the fact that there have been recent uprisings in Iraq , two years after the last soldier was pulled out of there, it's hard to put a big smile on your face. If you are going to be engaged in life , there are going to be great things and then there is going to be heartbreak. If you ignore either , you are not really alive. On top of that , if you have a chemical disorder ,
and your brain can't pick your mood , it is extremely difficult to be positive . I think you are amazing Andrea. Even when you are very down , you always look and find ways to amuse people on your Facebook page.
When I met you , I knew you were one of the wittiest people I had ever met. You are like Steven Fry. He is hilarious. You both were born with the gift of wit. That doesn't mean you feel happy all the time. That means the way you choose to express yourself is more often than not very sophisticated and humorous and makes people laugh. Even when you are depressed you still want to make other people laugh.
People who don't have the chemical imbalance you do ,don't care half as much as you do about your friends. I would say it's harder to be real , and face what life hands you than to try to be happy or positive because it makes other people more comfortable.

BMF said...

I think Kate hit the nail on the head in saying that being positive just for the sake of keeping other people comfortable is not only unauthentic, it's an unfair burden to lay on someone who is depressed.

And Annie does, as only Annie can, take that depression on full force and still yes, makes people laugh and smile, and brings other people happiness and joy even when she, herself, is in the throes of a serious downer. She doesn't pity herself, and I think this blog was more factual than pitiful.

Witty, she is, definitely. One of the wittiest people I know.

And Kate's right--we're all going to have great things that happen to us and really shitty things that happen to us and no, if your brain chemically imbalances when each type of mood surfaces, I don't know how she lives and survives the constant fluctuation. But she does, with grace. That's a very admirable quality in a person and part of why we love Annie so much. Her resilience.

Annie, I don't know what to say or do about your mom and her condition, or your living situation, other than to save your money and get out as soon as you can. It's SUCH an unhealthy environment and Luke can't always be there a a buffer. But hang on.

xoxo

Rob Cheney said...

Could you "engineer" that your mum goes and stays with a friend as it sounds like there is a hefty dose of cabin fever in the house, just so you can have a break from one another as that may help things

Andrea Miklasz said...

I'm hoping that once I go back to school (tomorrow) and start my internship, which will get me out of the house 10 hours a week, it won't be as bad. Hoping!

If I could ship her off to her sister's (even though they hate each other) or a friend's house for a few days, that'd be great, but then I'd catch flack for trying to get rid of her (which is exactly what I'm doing).