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I understand, I am tired of it too.

It started yesterday afternoon. It wasn’t a bad day. I thought if I just lie down I might have the energy to go to the shop and clean before we got on the ferry at 3am.  I even bought our ferry tickets the day before knowing I wouldn’t want to deal with it early in the morning; the idea of being up at 3am was weighing on me. The shop not being cleaned up and everything I hadn’t completed was all settling on me.

The house was quiet at 5pm.  And at 6pm.  I set my alarm for 8pm.  “I can wake up and go to the shop at 8, clean and head to the ferry,” I told myself.  My body said, “NO”.  My body, which I hadn’t asked much of the past two days, began to feel like lead.  I sent the message to my mom, “too sick to make the ferry,” in a few more words.  I can’t look back at the message because a fight with Yancey then escalated.

    

I screamed at him, the primal scream that leaves your throat raw.  I threw my phone at the timber wall of my room.  It bounced off, unbroken.  I stormed out of the house, down the steps, to the edge of the property and threw my phone as hard as I could towards the beach.  It landed 8 feet from me just below the tree line of the beach.  I stood still for a moment, disgusted, I couldn’t even throw it to the beach.  It was raining, that would do the job. 

Crying, yelling, feeling like a failure for not being able to control this, to get through it and get the kids to the ferry. I hadn’t thrown a phone since 2012. The pressure in my head caused me to rock and beg, “please, just break.” An aneurysm, anything, the pressure built further.  Lying down sent shooting stabbing jolts from above my ears to my crown. Sitting up felt like I was trying to get to the bottom at the deep end of the pool. The pain was unrelenting. I thought, "I should go to the ER."  When I did sleep for a few minutes I woke up crying.  Around 4am the ferry passed by the house, the familiar humming of the engines as it passed sent me into another round of quiet choking sobs.

Around 5am I thought I should let Yancey know about the phone. I went upstairs to Miranda’s room, “what’s your code,” I whispered to her. I put the code in. Five minutes later I couldn’t recall the code, I asked her 3 more times this morning before saying, “please write it down.” I also had to write down a phone number because I couldn’t remember the seven numbers from looking at a text it was sent in to typing it back into the phone, though I tried several times.

With another phone lying by my head the texts and phone calls began again.  We fought again. For hours. It doesn’t matter what we said, as always we are both at fault. I screamed again. I set Miranda’s phone on the bed, and kept screaming. I hit my bed with my fists, I stood up on the bed and swept all books, magazines and glasses off the shelf at the head of our bed. A vase with paper flowers from mothers day hit the wall and shattered.

Glass was all over the carpet and sprayed into the hall. I stopped screaming. I picked up Miranda’s phone and walked to the living room. Merrick met me at the bottom of the stairs. His eyes ringed with red splotches from crying. He had come in my room when he woke up and wrapped himself around me. Tears fell on my cheek, his tears, mixing with mine.

“I am sorry,” I said, “it wasn’t about you guys, I just got sick and it’s hard for me to travel.”

“I know,” he said. I wrapped my fingers around his and felt ill for his disappointment. “I love you,” he said again leaving my room.  He was likely red eyed over missing the trip, not because I was screaming or breaking things, but part of my wanting out is because of what the kids have to witness and experience with me.

“Here,” I said to Merrick, handing him Miranda’s phone, “please take this or I will break it,” I turned away grabbing the broom to start cleaning my room.

There isn’t a feeling I despise more than losing control, more than breaking things. It snaps me out of the anger for a moment, the anger having snapped me out of despair as well.

“You feel better when you are angry,” Yancey has said many times. Meaning, I get mean and angry and fight to avoid feeling bad. He is right. Today I understood something new. Despair, stress, suicidal tendencies all rob energy from me. Anger must have a chemical reaction that pushes adrenaline through me because I do often believe I can do anything at the same time I am threatening to leave him or just being cruel. For a very short time there is actually relief from the pain, while I am causing more for someone else.

And so the cycle runs.  The house phone rang again.  Lying in bed, alone in the house I knew if I didn't get up and answer it he would send someone here.  His parents had already picked the kids up.

"Yes," I said.

"I just want to know you are okay."

"Yeah, if I was ABLE to kill myself I would have done it a long fucking time ago," I said and slammed the red receiver down.

It has been a good run of not feeling this bad.  It hasn't happened like this for a long time.  I can speculate why but the truth is it just happens.  It happens if I am drinking, sober, abusing medications, taking none or taking the one that has worked best for me, which I am and will continue to take.  

I don't have prescription medication at my house which could be used to O.D.  I am terrified of dying, of actually hurting myself.  But I am not scared of falling asleep forever.  I am a spiritual person and that thin thread of believing I don't have the right to take my life is always there, no matter how badly I want to end the pain forever.  I research things like, how much tea tree oil is lethal, but again, that's not an appealing way to go.  So you could easily say I live in the "Desire for Suicide" or suicidal ideation, when I feel desperate or extreme mental anguish.

http://arcsp.org/-image credit

Don't worry if you don't understand, I am sharing for people who do.  Since I have a fear of dying painfully I usually decide, "I will starve myself to death, slowly, without telling anyone."  But rather quickly I realize I am really very hungry.

 

I have been questioning if I am strong enough to keep the shop open, and truly hope I am.  It feels humiliating to be here.  I feel ashamed when I can't keep this from happening.  I do everything in my power to navigate around feeling this way, but since I went to the Doctor in April I have known that there are things in my life that I have to address.  I have been isolating, I have been feeling crushing failure as I work to be more present at home and things at work give out. 

It has been a rough day.  The worst kind of day.  Something must be changing or I wouldn't have the ability to write. I've learned riding out the storm is preferable to fighting it and although I wish for a permanent solution to severe temporary pain, I am not capable of it, it seems.  

It's easy to say "fall down seven times, get up eight."   I don't know what the answer is for anyone else.  Today I'm wondering, "what can I do differently to be well."  No one can answer that for me either.  It's not cancer.  It's not diabetes.  I don't actually know what it is and I am 100% sure no one in a white lab coat or title "Dr." does either. It's not logical someone who lives as healthy and clean as I do would have a brain which backfires so severely or a body which fails so easily (and this is with the benefit of LDN, I cannot imagine where I would be without it).  

Truth is its a problem I can't solve today.  It feels like a mean joke to be good at something, but not strong enough to maintain, which feels like the pattern and one I desperately want to break.  Right now though, I am like SUPER hungry... I suppose that is a good thing.

 

I laughed a little today at comics new to me on nedroidcomics/Tumblr, which I stumbled across and was thankful for while heading to www.123rf.com for the images in this post. 

Lisa Nilsen
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LDN, the too good to be true story of how I came to not feel suicidal for the past month.

Photo credit, Stephanie Stewart-Howard “12thandbroad.com” (see link at the bottom of this page).  

It is precisely the “Snake Oil Effect” that makes peoples eyes gloss over when I mention LDN.  It just sounds too good to be true.  

It is inexpensive and has little to no side effects, even at the higher FDA approved dosage of 50-300mg/day, which has been used to help wean addicts off opiates and alcohol since it’s 1994 FDA approval (see LDN factsheet link below).

LDN is literally “Low Dose Naltrexone,” using dosages of 1.5-5mg/day for healing vs. the approved FDA label “high” dose for helping relieve alcohol and opiate addiction.

“It’s even effective on cancer!” I have been heard saying enthusiastically, as the person I am speaking to turns and quickly exits the conversation.

Why does it seem too good to be true?  Because it doesn’t fight the disease itself, it heals your immune system so that your body can fight the disease. Is it a miracle drug, no.  Will it heal or cure everyone and anything?  No.  If you keep drinking diet coke and eating preservative laden food, smoking, drinking, and sitting on your bum, will you likely feel well even if you take LDN?  I seriously don’t have any idea, as I work to avoid those things.  

cannot think of a profession more frustrating than working as a doctor or health care professional in the modern western world:  

Dr., “How can I help you today?”

Patient, “I am hurting, sick and/or depressed.”

Dr., “We know that a healthy diet, exercise and hydration are key to wellness.”

Patent, “Sure, I do all that... but I am still very ill.”  The patient just went through the McDonald’s drive through and enjoyed a quarter pounder with cheese and a diet coke on the way to her appointment.  When she gets home she will have 2 double bloody-marys to relax.  She also drank 6 cups off coffee, including several vanilla latte’s today.  She never drinks water. To be fair, she did run 4 miles at the gym.

Dr., “Well, if you are doing everything we know will keep you well, I suppose I can prescribe a few of the miraculous medications our Pharmaceutical Reps have shared with us, out of the goodness of their heart and the desire for the healthiest population in the history of mankind.”

Patient, “Thank you for listening and caring.” And she leaves with a prescription for Ambien, to sleep better, Klonopin to feel less anxiety, and Lithium for her original diagnosis of bipolar.  She knows she can get any drug available, with less than a request for it, based on her diagnosis.  She also knows she will misuse or abuse any medication she is given.  She actually seeks out drugs that will be effective in an overdose.

Dr., “Next.”

I didn’t want to be that patient anymore.  No drinking, no diet coke, exercise as tolerated, eat organic and clean as much as possible, pray, meditate, sleep well... and guess what?  Since I am bipolar, and after 3 years of being medication free, I ended up back in the Dr.’s office.  I was sure there wasn’t an answer for me. That was on April 24th.

 On April 23rd, the day before my doctors appointment, I had emailed the Seattle Neuropsychiatric Treatment Center. The first question, and it’s a fair one, was who am I insured with.  I found out that Electric Convulsive Therapy, ECT, would run about $30,000.00 for 12 treatments and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, orTMS, about $9,000.00 for a 6 week course. During which I would need to be living in Seattle. 

 I spoke to my husband, who had stayed in from fishing more than twice this April to take care of me. That doesn’t happen.  He has missed children being born, holidays, birthdays, life.  Life goes on when you are married to a fisherman, unless he is so worried that life will not go on, and in those rare crisis he has stayed by my side.  In the past that meant he came in after I was hospitalized.  Recently it has been because he understood I did everything in my power to be safe and healthy, and still wasn’t.  So he stayed.

 When he was in town again, although the tides and fishery allowed him to be on the fishing grounds, I said, “I am going to have to go get help.”  And he said, “please go to the doctor here and ask him about your idea, but I support you no matter what.”

And that is how I found out about LDN.

 When I left the Dr.’s office that Friday the clinic was closed.  He had listened sincerely, he had given me feedback on ECT and that he didn’t know anything about TMS.  He gave me the option of Depakote or LDN, but I didn’t write down the name of the second one, and I knew I would refuse the first option.  He listened to me for so long that the clinic was closed when my appointment ended.  I walked out into the clinic corridor to a building only lit by daylight.

My best friend, who works there, led me to the door to unlock it for me.  I hugged her. I cried in defeat.  My anger and disbelief overtook me.  After all I had done, after all the changes, I would have to be medicated.  There seemed no other option. 

 I couldn’t find any information about LDN that weekend, having not written the name down.  

 “Can I have your doctors appointment Missy?” I asked my daughter. 

 “If you really need it,” she said.  I really did.

 When I went back on Monday morning I said, “tell me again, what is the name of the other medicine, not Depakote?  I couldn’t find it anywhere.”  

 After finding it wasn’t a bigPharma drug, my heart and mind opened a little more.  I didn’t believe there was anything that could help me either.  And for less than $75 per month with little to no side effects? Puuuuullllleeezeee.  And Mrs. Stewart-Howard may say, “who do you think you are filling people’s minds with unscientific garbage!”

 Except, it is science.  Why does it work on so many illnesses?  Because it isn’t attacking the illness, it is repairing the immune system.  It is helping your own body heal itself.  It’s that simple.  If you want to learn more, or know more, please “Google LDN,” as the author Joseph Wouk suggests in his like titled book.  He also drank diet coke, he suffered from MS and his symptoms were relieved with LDN.  

 I tentatively noticed the first morning, after my first night dose, that some veil, some cloud, something was gone.  I didn’t want to get my hopes up, yet I recognized it as something I had rarely felt in my life, an absence of wanting to die.  

On May 29th I will have been taking LDN for a month.  Did it take weeks to work, no.  Will it be the same story for everyone?  Of course not.  However, what has anyone got to lose?  Suppose you try it for your illness and it works. Hooray for you.  Suppose you try it and it isn’t the problem, your immune system doesn’t need support, your endorphin levels are normal, well, you can always work on your diet, hydration, exercise and meditation.

It reminds me of when my mom would say, “Lisa, why don’t you try saying a prayer.” 

Of course I would say, “that won’t automatically make things better.”

And she would say, “it can’t possibly make things worse.”

And that’s LDN.  It can’t possibly make things worse.

http://www.ldnresearchtrust.org/sites/default/files/UK%20LDN%20Fact%20Sheet%202015_0.pdf

http://www.12thandbroad.com/story/news/2015/05/06/broad-bits-snake-oil---why-are-we-so-easily-led-by-conspiracy-theory-over-science-when-it-comes-to-health/70905164

 Disclaimer:  the realization that there is a medicine that has relieved symptoms and increased my hope for health in no way reduces my prior blogs.  Many ailments can be remedied with diet, exercise, hydration and meditation.  My experience with LDN is in addition to the many changes I have made, and maintaining those choices give me the best chance at a healthy life.  Bipolar I is a devastating illness which I worked very hard to maintain without drugs.  In this case I feel BLESSED to have found a drug, a medicine, that has helped with symptoms I had to work extremely hard to manage, or couldn't manage.  Even if it felt, initially, like I was betraying my own self. In order for growth to be possible, flexibility must be present.  It took some major flexing for me to accept medication.

Lisa Nilsen
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Shouldn't we be aware all the time?

My mind expands when I listen to another viewpoint, process it and do so with respect.  Thank you Laura for taking the time to put together this heartfelt perspective, Love Lisa.Why just during an awareness "month"?

Why just during an awareness "month"?

I’ve participated in plenty of organized awareness activities for different groups, and my heart truly is there, but honestly I just don’t get them. For instance, May is mental health month or October, get your mammogram because it’s titties month. How about Tourette awareness month from mid May to mid June? I lovingly chuckle at that one because I live in a home with Tourette’s and I get it. These are frustrating for me it feels limiting; or maybe it’s the commercialism, or maybe I just don’t get it because in my mind I’m thinking, “Shouldn’t we be aware all the time?”.  Also, e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. has a cause to bring awareness to these days.  There are so, so, so many of them. It doesn’t lessen the importance, they are all important. So, what are they trying to accomplish?

Let’ start with what www.mentalhealthamerica.net defines as the purpose of mental health month:

  • Fight stigma 
  • Provide support 
  • Educate the public and
  • Advocate for equal care

Couldn’t those bullet points apply to every single activist group out there?

Then it hits me, this is all rather selfish of me. I have a 41 year history of events coinciding with mental illness. I’ve practiced fighting stigma, I’ve practiced providing support, and I’ve practiced educating my friends and have been directly involved with mentally ill patients getting access to appropriate care. If I haven’t been able to practice those appropriately, I’ve learned from them. I don’t want to sound like a crusader, rather it’s more that my exposure has created an open mind and I assume everyone thinks that way.   As a human race, as cultural societies, we are still so young and continue to make humanitarian advancements.

Take stigmas for example. Racial equality in the U.S. really hasn’t been around for very long. Still, it’s very different than it was in the 1950s. Do we have more work to do? Yes indeed. How about gender equality? We’ve come a long way since the early 1900s, but do we still have work to do? The answer is yes; if you were going for something different then stop…the answer is yes. We could go on and on about equal vs. unequal groups, but if you look at the underlying issues of these you will find that stigma is a common thread. It’s one brick in the wall though. Another may be ignorance, another not being compassionate, and yet another, intolerance. On and on.

What about providing support and educating the public? Recently I was in a lecture about how the Seattle Police Department responds to domestic violence calls. One participant asked,“What good are public service announcements on T.V. about domestic violence which tell the abusers what they are doing is bad and they should stop? I mean, they aren’t going to look at that and say ‘Oh, I guess I should stop beating my loved one now’. And it doesn’t apply to me but I still have to sit there and watch this commercial when I know it’s not going to have any effect on the actual abuser. So who is this benefitting? What’s the point?” I related to what he said. Then I started thinking about the domestic violence PSAs that have been very prominent on the Alaskan T.V. channels recently (Real Alaskan’s Choose Respect). I really, really appreciated those. I knew it wasn’t going to solve an epidemic in Alaska which has ranked it as the #1 domestic violence state in the U.S., but like the SPD police officer pointed out, those PSAs let the abusers know that we are openly talking about it now. The problem is not staying behind closed doors, it’s out in the open now. Furthermore, there are support groups, there are agency assists for both the abuser and the victims, and we are making progress forward. I suppose this is one example of how campaigns strive to raise awareness.

These awareness campaigns, of which I’m both cynical and hypocritical as I complain while I participate), admittedly mean something to me. If for nothing else, it sheds ignorance and raises awareness. Who in roller derby had a pre-conceived notion about the game and its participants that changed once they started participating themselves? Mmhmm. Was it the sport that changed? Did the players, refs, NSOs, and volunteers change? Nope. They remained the same. Our education about them changed and we became less ignorant. We essentialy went through an awareness-campaign-process when we started donning our skates and learning the rules. We’ve come to admire it; we want to eat, sleep, and breathe derby. We realize there is a place for everyone in derby, and don’t we want to sign them all up for this epically awesome adventure with us? Now, apply that thought process to any of your stigmas of us vs. them, to your ignorance of an issue that breeds fear, or to keeping silent during a seemingly innocent slam against something you didn’t understand before. When we elevate our understanding about a mentally ill person for instance, they don’t suddenly change, we do. We don’t try to conform them to us and make their issues invisible, we acknowledge and go on with our lives with more inclusiveness.

If you have also participated in roller derby you can relate to Bonnie D. Stroir:

“Most seem to find roller derby in transitional periods…. We ruin our bodies to save our souls, and for some reason that makes perfect sense.” 

And you still feel above that person struggling with mental illness? Bitches please! Start at home first, then take it to the streets (or track). I only ask that you do it all year, not just in May. <3

Laura Johnson
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