Monthly Archives: December 2014

Forget the three wise men: here’s to my three wise women……


It’s Christmas eve. I’m sitting alone in my sitting room, staring at the fire as it crackles and flames up the chimney. A lot of the work for tomorrow is now done; I’ve cooked and then baked the ham and it looks resplendent in its crown of cloves and cover of glaze. I’ve made the special stuffing with sausagemeat, onions, bramley apple and sage. I’ve made the meringues and jelly for the Eton Mess dessert and I’ve roasted and shelled the chestnuts and cooked up the sprouts for tomorrow…
So I’m sitting here now, having given the kids (or baby adults I should say) a list of things to do around the house to have it clean and tidy for tomorrow. All this effort!! I’m exhausted already….

As I worked away, chopping and frying and baking today, I started to think about Christmas, what it means and what it is supposed to be all about. The message of Christmas is a personal one and we all have our own opinions, faith or lack thereof. But when I was thinking about all this, I started to wonder about the three wise men. As I worked away all day, that morphed then into who my three wise women would be and why.

My mother, one of the strongest woman I know would be the Number 1; the leader… She has dedicated her whole life to her family, to me, my sisters and brothers and my dad. She is such a strong woman. We have been friends for years, she’s not just my mother. She is compassionate, loving, giving, funny, (she’s crap at games but we don’t hold that against her) and after being a pioneer for seventy years, decided that she didn’t want to die without having tried alcohol at least once… She tried champagne one Christmas and decided that she actually did like the taste so every now and then, she’ll take a little tipple.. She loves good wines, good books, good people and would give the clothes off her back to someone in need. She is my hero.

The second wise woman is my sister Maria. She’s more like our mother than she realizes. She is strong, funny, witty, whacky, loving and giving. She is one of my best friends. She is a rock of sense, has the most seductive laugh, she is gorgeous in personality as well as looks, and doesn’t realize how utterly wonderful she is. She is highly efficient in everything she does except when it comes to herself. She doesn’t trust herself completely. She was married for a long time and then all of a sudden she wasn’t. Since then, her confidence has wavered, her faith in herself has been knocked and she is only just recovering the sense of herself. She is remarkable in every single aspect and I am both honoured and delighted to have her as my sister and best mate…

The third wise woman is my mate. We went to school together and for a few years lost touch, but for the past decade or so, we have again been the best of buddies. She has seen me through some dark days and I have seen her through dark days. Struggling with bipolar is not always an easy thing for others to cope with. It can affect those around you and for me, she just accepted me as I was, as I am. She rolls with the punches (metaphoric ones!!!), and is always there for me when I need her. She has battled her own bouts of depression, having had an alcoholic husband and she just ‘gets’ what I mean when I describe the dark times! They are my three wise women. They walk with me in my life through adversity, through happiness, through it all….. And I love each of them with all my heart – my wise and wonderful women.

Happy Christmas/Holidays to you all….


Filed under bi-polar

Sometimes words are not even necessary…….

Aunty Acid says it all…………..

aunty acid 7
aunty acid 5
aunty acid 6
aunty acid 4

aunty acid 2
aunty acid 3


Filed under bi-polar

Memory loss, meds and men!

curse alert…. if you don’t like the use of the word fuck, don’t read any further….

Okay, so I don’t want to both alienate and infuriate men in that one sentence, but my god some men are not even from Mars!!

I have a short-term memory problem. I KNOW THIS. It’s a result of both my illness and the medication I take to combat the illness, according to my doc! If I never took meds, I’d still have the problem. Most of the time, it’s an annoyance; one of the kids will ask me do I remember something a few months back where I said…..” blah, blah, blah,” and of course I won’t. Himself will ask me do I remember visiting such a place on a holiday a few years back, etc blah, blah, blah, and of course the response to this is… of course not. I can’t remember a few months back, forget years”

But some of the time when I’m really sure about something, I’m told I’m wrong and that causes me great stress…. Of course its himself that will argue because he’ll have got something wrong and of course, being me, I’ll correct him, to be met with a wall of resistance. “with MY memory how can I surely be right… of course I’m the one in the wrong’.. I want to fucking kill him.

I’m getting myself worked into a state here, because as a point of principle, I feel it is necessary to be right ; but so does he. It used to be in our household that himself was ‘omnipotent’. He was reared as a first born son of an Irish mother and so far up on a pedestal that it took a while to knock it down from under him bringing him back to the level of us mere mortals. I did it… over years and years…. This year, my own level has dropped, (it’s been a bad year) so I’m clawing my way out of the hole I fell into. I’ve had to acquiesce more than I have in years. I needed it… Now, I want my power back. But I am being met by strong resistance. My memory is at fault, my mood is at fault, I am at fault….I fucking hate it. It is a sure sign I am getting stronger no doubt – this fight in me, but when my memory is at fault at times, I feel it is important to be right when I AM right!! I’m not a fucking idiot. The information is in my head, I just find it hard to recall sometimes. I am not a fucking idiot….

I’m angry right now. I want to lash out and it’s taking a tremendous amount of will to not shout, to stay in control. I don’t know why it’s so important I’m seen to be right. I don’t know why it hurts me when I am ‘told’ I said or did something I know with every fibre of my flawed being I did not…

The advice to combat the memory loss associated with bipolar and the various meds taken for it, is as follows:
• Write everything down in a notebook you want to remember…. Ha! I’d be writing all fucking day.
• Repeat things you need to remember several times to give your brain a chance to absorb the information… ha, I’d be repeating myself all fucking day….
• If you have a smart phone, make to do lists and use the calendar and diary features… just fucking shoot me, if that is the answer…

I am not a happy camper today!!!!!


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The Pet Hates of a Manic Depressive – Are they real or imagined?

i hate everything

Okay, so my pet-hates in this world are many and varied. Among them is dog hair (not dogs – just the hair!!), pet smells, (I like cats! – they don’t smell!), dirt, untidiness, smelly people, those with too much knowledge about a subject they ‘think’ they know about (but don’t) and those with too little knowledge of a subject they ‘think’ they know about (but don’t). The more I think about it, the more I am bothered by an awful lot of stuff really… But the ones that really get my back up are:
People “telling me” how I feel about something.
And someone “highjacking” my shrink for their benefit – what I mean is people saying “well surely your doctor would say…” (My doc is mine; her advice to me is mine alone; her treatment of me for my benefit is mine alone, not to be hijacked by anyone else.) That’s a huge one for me…

While some of my ‘pet hates’ are valid; some are not. Indeed the question is are they really MY pet hates or are they part of the psychopathy of my illness. Some of the symptoms of the manic phase of bipolar are:
• Feeling extremely irritable and aggressive.
• Having uncontrollable racing thoughts or speech
• Thinking of yourself as overly important, gifted or special
• Making poor judgments, such as with money, relationships or gambling

I have experienced all of those elements. At times (but not all the time) I am irritated by untidiness, at times (but not all the time) I am irritated by bad smells (to the point I have to get rid of them). I’ve walked out of supermarkets because of bad smells wafting off individuals who don’t seem to know what deodorant is. At times I think only I know the best – and the most – and the ‘cleverest’ way of looking at things. I have tried to spend my way to having a relationship with others who clearly wanted to distance themselves from me. I’ve spent more than I could afford (though not for a long time TG), I’ve an addictive personality, I love the thoughts of wanton gambling therefore don’t ever indulge.

But when I am in the depressed phase of bp, I am not thinking straight at all. My sense of self is twisted, my sense of others is twisted, because in that phase, I tend to think that those around me also think the worst of me. It’s a terrible illness to struggle with, because it robs you of your confidence in yourself and your own abilities. It also robs you of your surety in those surrounding you. So not only am I not on firm footing, but neither is anyone around me – in my head!

Don’t tell me how I feel; that’s the simple way out of that one.
Don’t say:
Perhaps you’re getting too much rest and need to get up? (in the throws of depression I can’t even lift the covers off me never mind get up, but hey, you want me chirpy, so yeah, force me out of bed why don’t you)
Perhaps if you went out for a walk and got some fresh air you’d start to feel better. (Repeat response above)
Get up out of bed, you can’t be lying here all day long (repeating the same type of line over and over in increasing frustration and anger does not illicit a different response from me… Repeat response above)
Perhaps it’s the medication that’s making you like this. Maybe you should stop taking it, or at least cut back. (There is no fricking way that’s going to happen. That’s the only response I have to that suggestion)
Are you sure you should be taking that many pills, would you consider seeing another doctor, this one just prescribes pills? (Eh, it took so long to find a doctor I trust, that there is no fricking way that’s going to happen…)

Or these: these I love…..

Your doctor would tell you to get up and get dressed, it will make you feel better: (well actually no she wouldn’t. She’d be understanding and leave me alone to work through this….)
I’m going to tell your doctor you said/did/didn’t do that. (wtf… what are you – in tenth grade here?? there’s no response to this….)
If your doctor was here, she’d tell you to….. (that one pisses me off big time!!)

It isn’t easy making your way through life with this illness. It really is like walking on the road less travelled. We have to pick our way through obstacles others don’t even comprehend never mind see. I’m as ‘normal’ as I can be for as long as I can be. But when I’m not ‘normal’ (I fucking hate that word), I’m in a whole other place that is not really guided by the experiences of those who are unbipolar. Therefore they can’t really help. If I were treated like a baby, who can’t explain what is wrong, but I am loved, fed, held and sheltered, with no other demands expected of me, how wonderful that would be…. How safe I would feel.


Filed under bi-polar

Reaching the sunset of 2014…..

This has been a hell of a year. In fact, this year has just been hell. I have had such a deep depression this year, it is a wonder I am still here. There was a point, half way through the year, I didn’t think I’d make it to the end, because thoughts of ending it all came almost daily. The thought of the peace that would come from such an act was very seductive, but still here I sit, tapping away at the keys. It is only with the support and strength of those around me that I made it through this year. In my darkest moments I know I caused real concern as himself didn’t have a clue what to do or how to help. He doesn’t even realize that just by saying ‘don’t worry about anything – I’ll take over’, he helped more than he has yet to comprehend.
My folks, who live just around the corner, don’t realize that by visiting or phoning every day, (even when they got a “hrrumpphh’ as an answer to their queries) they kept me grounded at times when I really felt I would just be swallowed by a veil of sadness.
My sisters’ emails gave me a reason to open my computer every day and it was the blogosphere where I poured out my pain and was greeted by those who truly understood. For you all I say thank you so much. To my sister, were she here I would envelop her in my arms and not let go till next year! She knows how I feel about her.
My children: my beautiful, growing up children don’t realize they are the ones that kept me anchored to this world, when all I had were thoughts of leaving because this was just too hard a year.
And my ‘shrink’, my wonderful doctor who doesn’t allow monosyllabic answers, doesn’t allow the short cuts I used to get away with – who pushes and pushes for how exactly I feel so she can treat me properly, to her I owe a debt that no money can repay. And while I tell her thank you after every visit – I have never written it down and sent it to her. Shame on me for that.
To my best friend who I treated terribly this year, I will have to say “I’m sorry and I love and value your friendship every day”. She already knows this, but it is wonderful to hear it said however. She hounded me, dragged me out for coffee, which made me at least wash some days and even when I didn’t want to talk, the knowledge was there at the back of my mind that she was there.
There are some very special people who have helped me more than they realise (they don’t even know it) this year – I will find a way to tell them and repay them.

I walked through a valley of shadows this year. I nearly didn’t make it out. But I did. I didn’t and couldn’t do it alone. I don’t know what next year will bring, but the fact I am looking forward to it at all, if even just to be out of this year, is a blessing I will take. I will do anything not to relive the experiences of the last twelve months. I’m sure that’s a statement many would nod their heads in agreement with. But I am here and this year is nearly ending……
I have a framed verse: ‘Footprints in the Sand’, where a man looking back on his life at the moment of death, talks to God and admonishes him for leaving at the worst moments of his life. God answers that at those moments, it was the time he carried the man, not left him…. I looked at that almost daily. I know that many people carried me this year; my family, my long suffering husband, my children, my friends: and I am still here. I’ve been carried through what has been the worst year of my life on many shoulders. Maybe it takes a lot of people to do that, so that we all come out unscathed at the other end. I am so lucky and I know that. It’s strange to sit here and think of all that has gone on last year and be able to elucidate clearly. Above all I am grateful I am still here and 2014 is nearly over. So I can turn the page and start again. Ain’t life wonderful that way…. Roll on 2015………………………….


Filed under bi-polar, depression, family, family and relationships, Life and Health

It’s Holiday time Yippee? – Not for everyone.

Christmas image
Ah yes, Christmas! Even the sound of it as the word rolls around your mouth is wonderful. I just have to close my eyes and remember the fun and the laughter and the merriment that used to be Christmas in our family. I have two sisters and three brothers and Christmas was the one time we all made it back home to my parents home. We’d pack out the place with boyfriends, girlfriends, (then husbands and wives). There were so many people sometimes we had to sleep on the floor! But it was all the best fun….
We would have a mountain of pressies under the Christmas tree in my folks house and we’d all be up at the crack of dawn and with Christmas music playing in the background, we’d have an enormous breakfast of rashers, sausages, eggs, mushrooms, fried potatoes and tomatoes and we’d sit and natter for hours before getting dressed and ready for Mass. And of course, Christmas dinner was a huge affair and we all helped. But my mother would have been preparing and pre cooking for days on end. After dinner we’d all vegetate for an hour or so and then it was games time. And we’d play games and have fun for hours on end – well into the wee hours of the morning.

Then my brothers and sisters moved. They moved down the country, overseas, and eventually to different hemispheres (Australia) – and Christmas gatherings got smaller and smaller. One of my sisters converted to a different religion altogether and Christmas was now not even to be mentioned in her presence never mind enjoyed. But my boyfriend turned into my hubby (himself!!) and we bought our own house and had our own kids and on Christmas morning, there were presents under our own tree for our children. Those of us who could make it home for Christmas always ended up at my parents’ home, where we would just enjoy each others company. The fun and love in that house just enveloped me like a warm blanket. I can remember it so vividly, so nostalgically it is almost a tangible thing. And then one of my sisters and two brothers ended up joining my oldest brother in Australia in 2006. Christmas that year, and every year since has been bereft. I love my husband and I love and adore my children and Christmas is a wonderful time for them because I work real hard at making it that way; but for me, there is a huge part of the celebration of Christmas that is missing. My siblings! That tangible feeling I remember so well, that sense of utter peace and belonging and love is missing. And part of me hates Christmas because of it. The sister that stayed here in Ireland is the one who doesn’t ‘do’ Christmas! So every second year, my parents go over to Australia and I celebrate Christmas with my husband and children alone!

There is a part of me that is disgusted I feel this way. No one died; they are all very much alive and well. I get to see them regularly (well as regularly as we can afford for me to go to see them). So how can I feel such loss then? It’s hardly proportional and it’s stupid and childish and I berate myself for feeling this way. But I do! I am surrounded at the moment, by Christmas tree boxes and decorations and a half put up Christmas tree and instead of finishing the decorating, I am sitting here writing this post feeling sorry for myself.
We go through so much in a lifetime. We deal with adversity, death, life, love, happiness, loss of happiness and through it all we can either triumph or be destroyed by it. I have not been destroyed by my adversities, I am strong, probably because of this illness, because I have to be strong to survive the ups and downs of this illness. But I am surrounded by people who love me, who support me, who want me in their lives and for that I am grateful every single day. I have a roof over my head and I am loved – what more could I possibly need? So I am selfish when I give in to these feelings of self-pity. I know this. Things change, nothing stays the same and being bipolar, I am delighted that this is the case – because it means I will not be depressed forever or manic forever!
So instead of wallowing in self pity at the holiday season ahead and my lack of family to celebrate it with – I am going to finish putting up the tree, wrap up my presents and put them under it, decorate the house with the rest of the decorations and be thankful for everything I do have.


Filed under bi-polar

Being organised about ‘Recovery’……….

What each of us needs to do to aid our own recovery will be different. What each of us is capable of doing to aid our own recovery will be different. What each of us would actually love to do given a wish list and a magic genie is probably quite similar.

Being organized about my recovery is something I know I should do. I should exercise more. That I can do anywhere: walking to the local shops, walking up and down the stairs, walking outside in the sunshine and fresh air is probably the best of all. I make excuses for myself to myself all the time. It’s too cold, I’m too hot, it’s going to rain, it is raining. There’s too much to do in the house. I don’t have the time. I need to do something else or go somewhere else…. And the list is endless.
It’s the same about food; I need to cut down on the carbs. I KNOW that this will help everything, the weight, the hot flashes, the depression (because it helps the weight) etc etc, and yet I continue to buy all the stuff I shouldn’t because the kids and himself eat it. I convince myself when I’m doing the shopping that ‘this week it will be different.’ No way am I going to eat any bread, never mind the half brown/half white I buy for the kids to make their lunches with. No way am I going to have any garlic bread made from those part baked French rolls that have made their way into the trolley. No way will I have some of those peanuts I buy for the kids…. and this list goes on and on too. I have been making my own brown bread, I have been eating fruit and making veggie soup so that when I get hungry (ravenous is more the word) I will have a cup of this instead and fill myself up. But it’s not the same.. I need carbs, well actually I crave carbs.

I would love to be able to be ‘organised’ about my recovery and what I need to do for myself. It’s not always easy trying to recover with dependents in the home because while I may need to put myself first, most of the times I can’t. I am a mother and that means a whole lot of work! I have to shop for five people. They all need to eat. Yes, there is no doubt we can probably eat a bit more healthily, but the rub is, the boys don’t like brown bread and just won’t eat it. I’ve tried not giving them white and trying to ‘force them’ to eat brown (when they were younger), but they didn’t give in – I did. I just felt it was tantamount to child cruelty, forcing them to eat something they obviously didn’t enjoy… Yes, I know that instilling in them healthy eating habits is better, but they don’t eat unhealthily. They eat fruit, they snack on popcorn, they snack on peanuts, but so do I. I’m a regular mom, I’m not out to change the world, one organic vegetable at a time. I like the convenience of a supermarket, I like to have some convenience (and yes this means processed) foods in my freezer for the days I haven’t the energy to make a dinner from scratch.

But what would my wish list be?
It would be that my weight was more where it should be and my bmi would be on the healthy side. I would have a chef on staff that only cooks healthy meals and balances my diet for me. I would live near the ocean and I could walk on the beach every day. Every day would be beautiful, the sun would shine and the temperature would be in the 20 degree centigrade range. I would have no one to look after but myself. I would be well all the time – that probably should have been first! There are times when I think if everything else in my life was as it should be then so would my mental health, but I am not naïve enough to think that would be the case.

But I don’t want millions, I don’t want to be perfect, I don’t want to be beautiful in the classic sense – I just want to be well, healthy and happier more of the time. I think that’s a wish list most would want!

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