Friday, September 30, 2011

No Balance Found


It's impossible right now for us to find the balance of work, Twitter (which we love) and relationship "duties" (spending time with him, listening to him...)...and everything else the "9 of 9" want...(granted, it's not always all 9...but feels like 100)

Luckily we have a week left and then a lot of spare time. We have some entries we want to write that actually take some research, some opinion addition to the rest of our history.

It's Friday and as such it's date night...which means a lot less least the part where we get to read the funny things people write, and respond to the things they say.

New here?

or this weeks entry that contains some of our best archived writing:

We've had massive headaches all day (sometimes typical with our condition...and we know why they are happening...). We've got stuff to try to accomplish, like taking a shower, going out for dinner...and *shakes head* maybe shopping. We don't know. It feels like, as usual, there are 100 things to be doing (with as many of us wanting desires to be fulfilled...painting, writing, dancing, sleeping, playing video games, watching movies, hanging out with the boyfriend, playing on Twitter, shopping, eating...oy, my head is spinning...and pounding.

The dishwasher said he could see our headache on our face this morning.

Anyway. That's us for today. Headaches, anxiety, anger under the surface, failing at life (feeling like it anyway).

Happy Friday.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Habits and Blogging

Guess what, yeah, that.

You know, the thing about being a good blogger, they say, isn't blogging everyday...but the thing about being a good writer, and a good blogging everyday, because you get in the habit of doing it.

Writing, like exercise, like everything you do...needs to be a habit in order to develop, get better at it, like...drinking, smoking pot, (those two..."better" is clearly a lose interpretation), writing, reading the *gag* bible/going to church, logging on to Twitter, working out, playing video games, writing, cooking, painting reading, playing an instrument ...everything you do repeatedly will make you better at theory anyway...or until you reach your potential...and if you are good at something, and you feel confident about it, you'll stick with it...and grow your potential. Hence why we are here...writing something every we keep doing it.

We may not be good at writing (some of us), but we love it...we love words...turning our thoughts into day we hope to revisit a more creative side of writing, but for now we just need to focus on the therapy part that it can be.

We may have nothing to say today...we're basically riding out our last week of work so we can start writing again, because with the physical pain, the headaches, and only a few hours a night to spend with our friends on Twitter, and with our boyfriend who lives with us now (has it only been a week or so?!)...we just don't have the time to finish writing the rest of our life story (which is over there on the left in a series....) and we really want to (there is some good stuff coming up again) we can move on to other writing...we have some projects in mind...

Anyway, this is us checking in...we should probably be logging off of the computer soon...we know at least one person who would appreciate it.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Probably Not A Whole Lot Is New

Didn't write much tonight, for the usual reasons...catch up on the last few days...there's archived material in them there posts...and another guest blogger entry from the beautiful Kerry Stott, about S.A.D...and we'll catch up later, maybe...

In the meantime, hey! Someone returned The Boyfriends wallet! ( of course the money and weekly bus pass were missing and the lost and found asked the woman why she hadn't returned it sooner, and the woman lied...clearly we should never work in such a place where we have to deal with liars because she had a lame (lie of an) excuse...and we would have yelled "No! It's because you're a lying fucking bitch!"....$100 dollars and a $21 bus pass stolen, likely she realized she wouldn't be able to us all the credit/bank/cash cards within without a password...but the happiness on The Boyfriends face was enough to know that that despite the woman being scum,, his happy smile is beautiful, even if it's only for a silly $30 wallet, and some cards that he already had replaced. (P.S. so quickly we were impressed by the U.K.!)

Yeah, nothing much new today, 7 work days left before some much needed rest...even though we were unemployed a little over a month ago, when we got fired, we were still stressed at the prospect of finding employment, though it didn't take long to find a new one, so this is ...different...a better kind of relaxation...our weary mind needs it...we have so much to organize and figure out.

We're supposing it's stressful, not getting our work permit renewed, but at the same time...the stress and pain in our life would have led to...honesty? A much sooner death than we are currently comfortable with... sometimes; we suppose, the universe gives you what you need, not necessarily what you want. (and a big DUH! *face palm* from some of us)

Living with The Mother again...will not be stress free...but we can fucking guarantee it will be less stress than the last few years...and we need that.

Loves and kisses from Frank et al XO

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tonight: An MRI & A Guest Blogger Entry

Usually we only post Kerry (our guest blogger) twice a month, and never within the same week, but she had a request from a mutual follower/friend, and being we don't feel like writing much tonight because of an impending fasting (only for four hours though, but still) this evening for an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) appointment...we'd rather just enjoy "the weather" (Twitter, with out window open next to the table...and wine, until the fast begins...).
An MRI machine, in case you don't know what they look like.

What's our MRI appointment for? Well, some might have read the story of our car accident:

If not, just to make it easier, so you don't have to read the why, the following is what wrong with our back/spine:
We have "[...], arthritis, annular tears in our spine, spurring, posterior protrusions, disk degeneration and desiccation, end-plate deformities, and mild spinal depressions - this directly from the box of medical records stowed in our closet that we pulled out this evening, just to be sure we use the right terms." (taken directly from the story of our car accident).

In short, it's degenerative, and it's been 7 years come this December since the accident, and about 4 years since our last MRI, it's getting worse as we get older (pain, immobility; we've written about it in this blog a bit this year), and before we leave the place where we live we want to take advantage getting of an update (free) MRI...for when our medical files transfer.

Anyway, that's what the MRI is, on to our beautiful friend Kerry's entry. She's written about S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder). The Mother (our mother) suffers from it, as do a huge portion of people (hello, Seattle Washington and the Pacific Northwest of Canada and the United States...just to start).

At least one among us probably experiences it, but with depression, social anxiety, and everything else that is "wrong" with us, minute to minute, day to day, week to's just easier to say, if you suffer from S.A.D...we can relate; and we hope you have ways to pull through...

Kerry writes about what it is, and how to cope with it. She's witty and insightful, and straight read her blog post, which follows this one, and here is the link:

Our Guest Blogger Writes About S.A.D.: Seasonal Affective Disorder

Are You Feeling S.A.D.?
I had a tweet from one of my follower @TheOnlyMinx who is an awesome lady and also follows Frank, her writing and mine to. She has S.A.D and asked me to write something about it, which of course I said I would (I will write for anyone!). I really hope that I do not disappoint her so here goes – wish me luck!
As I write, it is a beautiful autumnal day. Autumn is my favourite time of the year. The trees are greens and golds and reds. There is that smell in the air. I get to cover up (I look better with more clothes on, I promise you not just my body confidence issues :S). I live in the middle of the countryside so I can feel the effects of the changing weather. I moved here from a VERY large city and I noticed a tension in EVERYTHING (lambs, cows, sheep, humans, dogs – everything) during the Spring time, then something just popped and it all resorted back to normal. It was my first real experience of what is called Spring Fever. But Autumn is definitely my favourite. Nights in snuggled up in front of the TV. Stodgy comfort stews. Bonfire night. Toffee apples. Heaven!
However, for many it’s just hell on earth. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is where a person experiences mood changes with the onset of a new season. Affect is a psychiatric term for mood, not that you become super efficient or anything like that! It can happen in any season. I have a friend who always goes low in mood during the summer months, however, it is much more common for people with this disorder to become low in mood during the autumn and winter months. Listed below are some of the range of symptoms you can get. As always it’s not exhaustive and comes from 2 different trusted websites :
  • Low mood, worse than and different from normal sadness
  • Negative thoughts and feelings
  • Guilt and loss of self-esteem
  • Sometimes hopelessness and despair
  • Sometimes apathy and inability to feel
Sleep Problems
  • The need to sleep more
  • A tendency to oversleep
  • Difficulty staying awake during the day and/or disturbed sleep with
    very early morning wakening
  • Fatigue, often incapacitating, making it very difficult or impossible to carry out normal routines
Over Eating
  • Craving for carbohydrates and sweet foods leading to an increase in weight
Cognitive Function
  • Difficulty with concentration and memory
  • The brain does not work as well, or as quickly
Social Problems
  • Irritability
  • Finding it harder to be with people
  • Tension
  • Stress is harder to deal with
Loss of Libido
  • Less interest in sex and physical contact
Sudden Mood Changes in Spring
  • Sharp change in mood
  • Some experience agitation and restlessness and/or a short period of
    hypomania (over activity)
  • No dramatic mood change but a gradual loss of winter symptoms
OK Here is the really crappy thing: it comes back. For those of you lucky enough not to have experienced clinical depression before please read my entries on depression and suicide to get a flavour of what it’s like. Having depression is a bit like being an Easter egg: looks nice and normal on the outside but once you take the wrapping off it’s just hollow and disappointing on the inside. Coping with depression just once is hard enough but having to live with the knowledge that it is a long term condition takes the biscuit!
As those of you who follow me on twitter, or who have read my book ( blatant book plug) will know I have had cancer and have to live with the fact that it might return. I guess that qualifies me as having a long term condition. Anyway, having a long term condition like SAD is kind of like pacing yourself for a marathon. I frequently say to my patients, and myself when I want to go and splurge on chocolate or wine, that sensible is not glamorous, sensible generally is not fun, sensible is definitely not fair. However, sensible keeps me alive, sensible helps my mental health, sensible ensures that I see tomorrow with my lovely family.
Any long term condition requires you to be as healthy as possible. That means eating the right sorts of food. People who have SAD tend to want more carbohydrates. A way around this is to keep a record of what you eat. It need not be as prescriptive as they do at Weight Watchers but just keeping a note of what you put in your mouth. There may be a pattern to it that you were unaware of before. If there is, then it can be planned for. I am not suggesting having a set amount of carbs per day, but perhaps a weekly upper limit that you are comfortable with. So if you want to pig out on Wednesday that’s ok but try not to on Saturday – you get my drift? If carbs are your weakness, clean out and detox your kitchen, if it’s not there you can’t eat it! Food is my weakness, I eat too much.
Micro nutrients. Vitamins A,D,E,K; C and B complex and the full range of minerals is essential to proper brain function. Vitamins C and B complex are water soluble so you urinate them out daily and it can be very difficult to overdose on the (please don’t go trying or I will laugh at you, you complete plank!). Vitamins A,D, E, and K are fat soluble, which mean that they require fat to be absorbed into your body. In return they can be stored in your fat supplies, thus making is easier to take too many. That said the western diet is so shitty that most people NEED a radical overhaul of it to even get anything close to the correct balance of nutrients. Which is why supplement companies make a fortune! There is plenty written on the internet about food and mood. Most of it is quite good and sensible; don’t go for any weird and wonderful advice because it is normally shit; you have been warned. For a more technical take I would recommend ‘Changing Minds, Changing Diets’ by Courtney Van de Weyer. It was published in 2005 so the research is a little dated but the principles are there and it is easy to read, if you like that sort of thing (I am an unashamed geek – deal with it!).
What to do. Roughly a portion of carbs is the size of your fist. Yes that’s right small isn’t it. One portion per meal! A portion is meat is about the same size as a computer mouse, a portion of cheese is only the size of a match box. The rest should be fresh veg, cooked so that it retains its goodness; not to a uniform yellow where if you put your ear close to it you can hear crying from the last vitamin alive because it is lonely! So boring things keep you healthy: at least 5 portions of fruit and veg per day, smaller portions than you are used to, keep a food diary.
Light boxes. These are sometimes recommended for suffers of SAD. The theory behind it is that the body requires more of the right kind of light that is not always readily available during the winter months. There are dawn lights which start to brighten up the room at a set time in the morning helping sufferers get out of bed, as sleeping loads and finding it difficult to get up in the morning are symptoms of SAD. There is evidence out there that this can help. However, if it works for you, great, but it does not work for everyone. On top of that the benefits may only be slight and go unnoticed until you stop using the light box. My personal stance would be that if it’s not doing you any harm keep going, unless you really don’t want to, then stop. Simple really.
Exercise. OK I am no exercise Nazi I promise. I have been everything from a couch potato to and exercise fanatic and back to a couch potato, and all points in between. I know that when you don’t feel like it, even a slow walk around the block is a huge effort but I do know that usually after I’ve done it I feel mentally a bit better. Cardio is the key. Doing weights and stuff like that requires a lot of mental focus and motivation but dragging your sorry arse out for a 15 minute walk is do-able. Most places have classes on and going with a mate is a great way of ensuring that you at least go. If it is only one class per week that is one evening where you are not slumped in front of the tv seeing if you can really overdose on Pringles (I’ve tested that one out and I can tell you that it is NOT possible no matter how hard you try). Mix it up, keep it fun. If you don’t enjoy the exercise you won’t do it. I don’t care if it’s Zumba or pole dancing, tap dancing might be your thing…anything to get your body moving and have a laugh!
Socialisation. Strangely people find me easy to talk to and tell me their problems – it makes me good at my job. Of my friends in real life (as we say on twitter) we have an agreement that we go to each other with our problems. That old nagging feeling of ‘well everyone has a lot on their plate’ has been done away with and replaced with ‘I would be offended if they did not feel that they could come to me with their problems so I will share mine with them’. Having a network of people to turn to is a good plan, even if it’s just to get you out of yourself and away from your negative thoughts. Planning nights out, or days out is a great way of breaking up weeks and the monotony of feeling so low. It gets you involved in the world around you, gives you things to aim for.
Professional help. It is out there and available, rather than bore the pants off you even more and make this rather long blog entry longer. Please see my other post on depression. From a clinical perspective I have no worries about someone with SAD coming to see me in the winter and being discharged from my caseload in the summer.
SAD like clinical depression is way more than feeling a bit blue for a couple of days. It is a dark, deep, pit of blackness – pretty damn hellish! If you suffer from it and have been diagnosed, I suspect that this post holds no surprises for you. If you think you have these symptoms get your ass to a health care professional and stop diagnosing yourself off the internet *rolls eyes*. Try and take care of yourself, you are special even if you don’t feel like that today.
Kerry x

Monday, September 26, 2011

We're Just A Bitchy Bitch

We've just been a bitch all weekend.

We're not sure what The Boyfriend/James is writing about tonight for his second post of the day on his blog, but he did mention that it's brutal.

As we explained to him we'd rather it be the brutal painful truth than a comfortable painless lie.

Anybody who knows us knows we are not fond of liars, we've had WAY too many of them trample through our life...all lying does it hurt people more, when the truth finally comes out.

Sure, sparing feelings is different, but our goal of cutting ourselves open and showing the world as much of "our insides", and educating, or ...what's the word for it...showing them what mental illness, specifically this one, looks like; and now with The Boyfriends assistance, the ugly outside; would be a lie if he acted like life with us was easy.

He must have a wish to live a life of torture, because most of us cannot believe that as good, and fun, and loving and hilarious as some of us may be, that the others of us who are far less so, are worth a lifetime (theoretically) of putting up with our bullshit.

We are under a lot of stress, and in a lot of pain, and The Boyfriend/James knows this; we can only hope that when the stress of selling the house (our house, and he's helping us) and packing up our belongings and trekking back to live in The Mothers basement will ease some of our anger, frustration, & childish outbursts.

We know us, and yes, we know are no picnic, but we also know we are better than this.

There is just so much to do in so little time, all we want to roll into a ball, hide under the covers and just get to the part where it's all over, where we have time to re-plan our life, yet again.

Not the greatest post today, we know. We're exhausted. We're frustrated. We didn't want to write a damn thing today, collectively, none of us wanted to write...but those are the rules, our rules, and we try to stick with them...someone here knows why...

Want to read something more interesting?

Some of our writing on this blog we like to promote (consider them highlights), these are those entries since mid-January 2011. There are bits of writing in this blog that we do not actually promote but here are highlights of what we have written so far this year that we want to share. There are some repeated under different subjects because some blog entries deal with more than one subject matter.

The Mental Health Entries:
Dissociative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder