Monday, December 26, 2011

Life full of mania with a dash of humor and a slice of normality (those are the secret ingredients) Vol 3 Issue 50

It’s pretty rare when I go through an entire week nowadays without finding some inspiration that I want to write about. When I first started this blog I had so many ideas running around in my head on what I wanted to talk about that I rarely found it when I couldn’t find a topic about BMD to write about. Last week however was one of those times when it seemed my inspiration was lacking.

There could be multiple reasons for this and a every one I’ve even considered in great detail. For instance maybe I was so consumed with the holiday season and what was going on that my BMD kind of took a back seat to more “pressing” concerns. Or maybe I’m actually getting a little healthier now that my BMD isn’t playing such a significant role in my day to day life (I severely doubt that though). But I’m guessing that I was simply being a little lazy (hey, it’s Christmas time you know). But a Christmas miracle (ok not really, but it was still pretty cool) changed all that yesterday and lucky for you I’m going to share.

To say that this BMD caught me and my entire family off guard would be nothing more than a giant understatement. I mean my dad told me awhile back that not only did he not know what BMD was he hadn’t even really ever heard of it. To be completely honest; my opinion of BMD was not far off from Stubby’s either, I had a basic idea of what it was but when you boil it down I really had no idea (unless you’d say calling your girlfriend bipolar for being a moody brat having a firm grasp on BMD, I was also rather clueless).

But can you really blame us? I mean there is zero family history. I never once, while growing up in South Chuck, ever heard someone be referenced to as actually having BMD and I definitely never met someone with it. The only perspectives I ever had on BMD came from the media (and they really aren’t known for how accurate they are when portraying mental health). Maybe it was because of all of these reasons and more that I decided I was going to embrace my BMD, laugh as much as possible with it, and live my life; not a life around BMD but one with it (I don’t think I really knew any better).

Last night at the Thompson Family Christmas (the live nativity scene has been postponed until the next generation in case you were wondering), I found the inspiration I’ve been talking about. It’s been nearly four years since my first episode and 2 years (still holding breath a little to get through this winter btw) since my last psych ward getaway. During this time I’ve grown and learned to laugh at everything that I’ve been given (well not everything, but I’m pretty damn close). I guess that’s just the way that I like to fight my BMD.

For a lot of people this may seem awkward or weird or uncomfortable (of course I’m sure they believe I have a mental illness) but it works for me. Over time I’ve begun to see not only my family but my close friends begin to warm to the idea of poking fun of my BMD; and I love it. It’s one thing to hear your brother or good friends burn you on your psychosis but a whole other when it’s your G’ma.

Last night G’ma was opening her gifts from everyone and one was a 1000 piece puzzle (she loves puzzles, maybe that’s where my psych ward past time comes from) of a peacock with its feathers up. It looked like quite a challenging and very difficult puzzle if I say so myself. I even mentioned how tough the puzzle looked with all the all colors and similar patterns and what not. To this my G’ma replied:

“I know Derek; I’m going to need your medicine to get through it.”

The first thing that came to my mind as I laughed was:

She gets it. I can’t believe she fuckin’ gets it. So awesome!

I hope you had a Merry Christmas and if I don’t see you a very Happy New Year!

Since many of my manic experiences involve music I’ve decided to add random music videos to the blog for my enjoyment and your inconvenience. Enjoy!

Coming Correct,

Friday, December 16, 2011

Life full of mania with a dash of humor and a slice of normality (those are the secret ingredients) Vol 3 Issue 49

So last night I was hanging out with Dave Chappelle’s neighbor (name-dropperville, population me) and we started to get into my BMD. I’ve noticed that my friends are becoming more and more comfortable in talking to me about my mania and what have you. I think it’s really cool because I think it not only helps them understand BMD a little better but it’s good medicine for me (I admit it, I like talking about myself). So Dave’s neighbor and I got into how the mania affects me and I describe it like this:

“It’s like I go to bed fine and the next morning I wake up and it feels like I’m rolling my balls off on ecstasy, tripping my face off on acid, all while at the same time my mind races like I’ve done enough cocaine to physically and mentally impair a donkey. Yeah things can get interesting.”

One of the first things Dave’s neighbor said to me was he thought bipolar was when I’d go from happy to angry like a mood swing. I literally laughed out loud when he said this (and then kind of felt like a dick about laughing). The main reason I find this humorous is because I wished my BMD would simply take me from happy to angry, that all this could simply be described as a “mood swing”. Life would be a hell of a lot simpler that way.

When I was recovering from episode uno back in late 2008 I would spend countless nights searching for answers. At this point I had spent the previous 8 months in a drug induced zombie state of depression and was now looking for help. I would sit up at night surf the world wide web searching for some sort of reassurance that I wasn’t alone, that someone out there understood what I was going through. What I had experienced during my manic episode was far from a “mood swing” but yet that’s the only thing I read about when others described BMD.

I get it too. I understand that the symptoms of my mania do resemble “mood swings”. I know that the chemicals in the brain (like serotonin and dopamine) that affect moods and even swings in those moods are also the same chemicals that directly affect my BMD peeps. I even saw a special on the Science channel (nerd alert, nerd alert) that described how the areas of the brain that are active during my manic episodes directly correlate to mood and the like. So I more than get why the comparisons are made between mood swings and BMD, but it doesn’t mean I agree with it.

During the nights of searching online it almost at times would have a negative effect on me. Instead of finding the comfort of knowing I wasn’t alone in my madness I actually began to feel more isolated. See what I went through was far from a mood swing, everyone has mood swings (my ex seemed to have them more than others) but I was psychotic not angry. I just think we can do better than the description “mood swings” for BMD because it’s really not accurate (at least for me).

Look a kite is pretty cool and those Chinese really got one right on this one (not so much so with Communism though). They use aeronautical engineering to create lift under the kite so that it can fly. Hell they’ve even figured it out so much that you can navigate these wings in flight and have them dance in the air. It’s pretty cool how the same principles used with a kite match out with modern day flight, those physics haven’t changed. But to me it’s similar to comparing my BMD to mood swings; just because a kite can fly doesn’t mean I call it a jet.

Since many of my manic experiences involve music I’ve decided to add random music videos to the blog for my enjoyment and your inconvenience. Enjoy!

Coming Correct,

Friday, December 9, 2011

Life full of mania with a dash of humor and a slice of normality (those are the secret ingredients) Vol 3 Issue 48

Did you know that in 2010 Adam Sandler made something ridiculous like twenty-something million on movies? Yeah I have no idea how that works either when his two “blockbuster” hits were “Grown Ups” and “Jack and Jill” (I know, I didn’t see them either). Seeing how you can find such easy success in the movie industry these days I’ve decided to switch my writing focus and try my hands at a screenplay (seems easier than trying to get this book going).

I have yet to come up with a title yet but my idea is a comedy set in Jerusalem roughly around Passover in the time of JC in which I’m on my first pilgrimage to the Temple Mount as a faithful man of Judaism. I’m thinking of starting the film (yeah it’s a film, not a movie) out with something like this:

Scene 1: Dekel (main) and his best friend Jehiel are exiting the pool of Siloam in preparation for their first visit to the Temple Mount.

Jehiel: “Is it cold out or something?”

Dekel: “Haha, real funny Jehiel, you know I just got out of that cold pool. Besides look at what you’re working with over there, it looks like your old man busted his circumcision cherry on you. How does everything still even work down there?”

. . .

Dekel: “I’m sorry Jehiel, it doesn’t look totally awful. I’m just on edge because I’ve heard of rumors that the “son of God” has been seen performing miracles around and the high priest is pissed. I swear if I rode that damn donkey for a week and that mediocre handyman screws this up for me. It’s bad enough I’m not even allowed in the Temple itself, everyone forgot to mention that key fact as they persuaded me for this pilgrimage.”

Jehiel: “I don’t think he’s supposed to be a good carpenter, seeing how he’s the “King of the Jews”.

Dekel: “King of the Jews?!?!?” Listen my great, great, great, great ancestors didn’t walk their happy asses out of Egypt, away from the Pharoh’s control, then roam the god forsaken dessert for a couple thousand years for us to be led by someone who can supposedly raise the dead but can’t balance my kitchen shelves. Which brings me to my next point, if he’s performing all these miracles why doesn’t he just walk around just healing people instead of--”

Passing Man: “There’s trouble in the city! Someone is causing trouble near the Temple! The Roman soldiers are heading that way!!”

Dekel: “Damn it, I knew it!”

I’m not really writing this screenplay but I felt it was a pretty solid intro into what I have been thinking about lately; that’s religion. I met with Dr. A (yeah I wish I was doing that for patient-doctor confidentiality but it’s actually because I can’t spell his last name) earlier this week and we somehow got on the subject of how prevalent religious/spirituality themes are in manic episodes. There’s also other recurring themes in people with BMD manic episodes but they don’t particularly affect me (still not sure if not having an unbelievable sex drive like others is good or bad) but the religious and spirituality one definitely hits close to home.

Now because of this I decided to look up online some other’s experiences with religion during their episodes. It was pretty fascinating to see how many people shared very similar manic episode experiences of religion and spirituality, even to the point that most change their belief system because of it. However there was of course one “doctor” who attributed everyone’s experiences to symptoms of their mania and a direct result of not understanding their illness (on a personal note I believe this doctor lives a cold and empty life, or at least I hope).

Not only did this stellar professional of mental healthcare have no business in this chat forum (as he doesn’t experience religious themes in his mania as the title of the group said) he was wrong (well maybe a little right). Sure I attribute the experiences of spirituality and religion we manics have to our mania and bipolar disorder but to me that doesn’t really explain where they came from. I think the most important part of these experiences is what they do to us afterwards. The religious/spiritual experiences I’ve had in my mania and others have written about are powerful and life altering, and I think sometimes the docs are more than a little jealous of that (I mean we’re supposed to be sick right?).

Since many of my manic experiences involve music I’ve decided to add random music videos to the blog for my enjoyment and your inconvenience. Enjoy!

Coming Correct,

Friday, December 2, 2011

Life full of mania with a dash of humor and a slice of normality (those are the secret ingredients) Vol 3 Issue 47

The silent monks of the Carthusian Monastery would like to wish you a Happy Birthday this year.

(Opens card to find complete blankness)

After seeing this on paper I’m convinced that this birthday card is a ton funnier in person. Oh well, I suppose each family has their own traditions for birthdays. With Stubby everyone gets to celebrate their “birthday month” which means each and every argument is settled with the simple phrase:

“Yeah but it’s my birthday month.”

End of argument. Another tradition is to try and find the most ridiculous and/or most funny card you can find and this one above was mine. You know it’s more of a thinking piece than most other b-day cards and everyone at the bar last night had to take a few extra seconds to get it (I guess alcohol does affect the brain) but it was a success. I also got a few laughs for my gift for Stubby. Seeing how he’s now engaged he has obligations to wine and dine his fiancĂ© so I felt like his evening dress attire was lacking in one department; stump wear.

It’s a little known fact but in most “jacket required” restaurants also usually have a dress code for the stump wear as well and Stubby's Hanes white footie just won’t cut it (that’s probably not true). To make sure Stubby doesn’t have any embarrassing experiences in one of these restaurants similar to the one Rick Vaughn had in “Major League” I decided to purchase some black footies for his birthday. They even had the gold toe line to help him line up the fitting before his steak dinner (I did feel uncomfortable in the Kids department shopping for these, quite uncomfortable for some unknown reason…OK I was actually in the Lingerie department at this point).

In the end it was all worth it though because dammit I thought it was funny. Hopefully that’s a sign for me that this funk I’ve been in is starting to let up a little more. As I’ve mentioned I by no means thought that this winter was going to be easy on me for a number of reasons. The first is I always have trouble in the winters, plus if you’ve been through an Ohio winter you know how much it can suck and be depressing, now add BMD to that. Secondly I’m on my two year cycle/pattern of mania. And lastly I’m finally on some meds that are helping, but I had a feeling my mania wouldn’t like that so much and take it out on me (I was more than right).

The toughest part so far was I really wasn’t expecting this all to kick in until around January or February as that’s when I usually have trouble. But my BMD is an overachiever this year and decided to show up in October (yeah it’s a dick like that). One of my “tells” on this is I always lose my sense of humor and rarely laugh. Last night at Stubby’s birthday I was finding more humor in my life which means hopefully this funk is releasing its hold on me some more. Which is awesome because I think laughter is good medicine, no matter what you’re fighting.

Since many of my manic experiences involve music I’ve decided to add random music videos to the blog for my enjoyment and your inconvenience. Enjoy!

Coming Correct,