Category Archives: prescription

Focus 52: "Close Up"

This is a close up of my mouth in a very unfamiliar position.

Closed.

And, because of my closed up mouth…millions of women, like you, like me, are going to die.

Closed up mouths lead to the take over of closed up minds.  Closed up minds equal the doors of Planned Parenthood closing up as well.  

With the recent passing of a Senate bill in Congress that is now going to remove federal funding from Planned Parenthood, you will now start to see changes.  Changes that I personally have not seen since the 1970’s.  You will start reading about women, dying, because they could not get basic gynecological care due to lack of funds.

So what does a close up of a closed mouth have to do with this?

Complacency.  Because women did not speak up.   Because women did not protest this with outrage, with vehemence, with determination.  We, the fairer sex, have once again allowed suited men (and women) in Congress to enter our uterus and determine what our rights are.  Even though providing abortions is a small part of what Planned Parenthood does—and is isolated from federal funds within the organization’s structure, by law—the amendment passed 240-185.

Is this the beginning of the end of Roe v. Wade?  Are women in our lifetime about to be relegated back to the days of back alley abortions?  Will we once again read about women who fall prey to quacks with dirty folding tables and rusty scalpels performing our abortions, leaving us bleeding, mutilated and dying?

What Congress does not seem to realize is that abortions are only one EIGHTH of what Planned Parenthood actually does for women.  This organization also does pre-screenings for diseases such as cervical, breast and ovarian cancer for women who cannot otherwise afford to have these services done.  They provide testing for HIV, AIDS and various other sexually transmitted diseases.  They offer education and birth control for low income sectors of our society.    Let’s not forget that Planned Parenthood makes sure that the rate of unwanted pregnancies and teen pregnancies stays extremely low.  Without their services, it is estimated that there will be 1.9 million unwanted and preventable pregnancies each year.

1.9 MILLION.  You read that correctly.

In a society where we can scarcely afford to take care of the population that exists right now, can we actually afford to supplement an additional 1.9 million more babies coming into this world?  This has little to do with abortion, but much to do with lack of birth control for those who cannot afford the doctors visits to obtain birth control, let alone the monthly cost of purchasing it.

It is not hyperbole to say that women will die as a result of this bill. It’s the horrible truth. Women who are uninsured will avoid seeking annual exams, pre-cancerous lesions on the cervix will be missed and will develop into cancer, breast masses will not be detected early – some women will die.

In addition to this, more will have unplanned pregnancies. Abortion rates, ironically, will increase. Only these medical interventions will be peformed by those not likely to have proper credentials, equipment and who are seeking to prey on the weakest members of our society – the poor. 

Sound outrageous?  It is.  And if this makes you angry, you should be.  You need to be on the phone calling your senator, you need to be planning how you’ll support the person who runs against the incompetent moron in your district who voted for this reprehensible bill. This must be stopped. We cannot blindly allow women to step back into the dark ages of back alley abortions and black market adoptions. 

Are you part of the reason this bill passed?  Rip the tape from your lips, open your mouth and start yelling.  Yell for your daughters.  Yell for your granddaughters.  Yell the way women yelled back in the mid-seventies when they decided that they were no longer going to allow government to take away our basic fundamental rights of reproduction control.  Those women yelled to protect our future.  We should be yelling for the next generation of women and girls who may fall victim to this heinous crime. 

I’m yelling.  I’ve been yelling.



You should be too. 

Long time gone…

I haven’t written in here since May. I said I was going to take June, July and August away from writing. I’ve missed it and while I have had a lot to say, the words were escaping me. It seems my inner voice has been a bit battered as of late. I wanted to write on September 11th, the way I always do. I couldn’t. I couldn’t even bring myself to honor the people lost on that day because I have been utterly swallowed by my depression lately.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had reasons to laugh in the past three months. Lots of reasons. There were a lot of fantastic things that happened over the summer. There were also horrible things, like my trip to Israel. There was pain, rejection, loss of connection and the annual celebration of the day I was torn via C-section from Esther’s pristine uterus.

44 years old. Happy birthday to me. Another day closer to death. The way I figure it, I am probably halfway to dead by now. If the average woman lives until 88 years of age, I am dangling on the halfway point this year. I did a quick assessment to see if I am anywhere near where I wanted to be at this age. The answer was a resounding…perhaps.

I’m a grandmother to two beautiful babies. I am married to the most amazing man to roam the earth since Christ himself…if you believe in that shit. My children are thriving in their lives. My daughter is happily married and a fantastic mother to those to babies I mentioned. My son just started his first year of high school at a brand new school and loves it. I am on decent terms with Esther. My dad is well, not healthy, but well enough for now. So those things are amazing and incredible and perfect.

But where am I? I’m not really any where. I am clean of my drug addiction for well over a year now. I gave up my nursing license and now, in retrospect, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I realized how miserable nursing made me and how it contributed to my depression. Whoever tells you that nurses get to help and heal patients, well, they obviously never worked in long term care. You don’t get to do any of those things. You get to shove pills into their incoherent slack-jawed mouths and then onto the next. There is no comfort. There is no care. There is no time to sit at a bedside holding a hand. All that bullshit you see on soap operas…it’s a fantasy. A fairytale that surrounds the beautiful myth of the nurse. At least it is in that setting.

So, back to school I went. Off to get my degree in Social Work. I decided I want to go for my Masters in Social Work and Human Services. Why? Because I need to hold that hand. I need to bring that comfort. I need to smile into pained and troubled faces. It does them good. Selfishly, it does me good. I decided that I am going to be an interventionist and work with addicts. Does it scare me? Definitely. I am scared shit to be around those who are using actively again…but now that I have been there and by the blessing of my Higher Power, found my way back…I feel this is the path I am destined to walk.

I love being in school because it is something I am good at. I am an “A” student, a perfect 4.0 GPA. The professors love me, they always embrace the returning adult students more than the new, fresh out of high school kids. They know we care a lot more and are a bit more hard pressed for time. There is no room for us to fail. We don’t have the opportunity to fail because we don’t have the time. The money. The lack of desire. Our grown up hearts are on fire to do something, anything relevant with the time we have left, however much that might be.

The way I figure it, I will walk out with my degree in 2 more years from now. 46 years old. Still enough time to begin a life, still enough time to put in about 30 years worth of employment.

I ain’t quite dead yet.

But in the interim, I am suffering. I have stopped taking all my psych meds. I just don’t want anything to do with them any more. And, it has its good moments and bad ones. I don’t feel fucked in the head any more. I have my memory back. My sense of humor has returned and it is whip cracking sharp the way it used to be. On the flip side, I cry at the drop of a hat. I fall into depressions very easily. And, my old friend insomnia has returned to fight me nightly. And while the bottles of Cymbalta, Lamictal, Buspar, Xanax, Geodon, Ativan, Klonopin and Trazodone all look tempting…I mainly find myself having staring contests with them. They dare me to open them and to indulge. And the temptation is always there. But, I don’t. I could. Nothing wrong with taking one now and again when needed, but I feel like one will be death of me. Just one pill will open up a can of worms for me. I can’t revisit the days of bottle dependency.

I keep them all over the house. Some on my desk. A few in my purse. More on my bedroom dresser. They stare at me and say, c’mon CP, let us take the edge off. And me, I scoff and say “no, let me empower myself, dammit”. “But you have a disease,” they retort. “You need us.” And that may very well be, but I want to try to go this alone. I want to feel like myself at every possible moment I can, however fleeting it might be. For those few hours, life is so perfect.

Then, the depression comes back, wraps me up in its itchy wool blanket and says, “No, no Dear. You don’t get to make the decisions around here. We do. Me…me and all your pills. Come down the rabbit hole, CP. It’s not that long of a drop.”

But it is. I’ve taken the trip before. For the five minutes I jump into the deep end, it requires a lot of swimming to get out of the murky waters again and I simply don’t have the energy to do it over and over again.

I’ll probably be writing more frequently now, but not daily. Just when I need to…like in the beginning. And tonight, I needed this to be here, like an old friend with open arms letting me fall into them and just cry. Let it all out, rubbing my hair til I fall mercifully asleep.

I need this.

In Good Company…

I have openly written about my bipolar disorder many times before. I even had a separate blog for it once upon a time. I still utilize that blog now and then when I just feel like seeing my random, skewed thoughts in black and white but not necessarily form a blog post about them. I think the last time I was there was October of last year. (2009).

Anyway, it seems to me to separate that part of my life is to pull out a big chunk of who I am and put it somewhere else, further perpetuating the stigma of mental illness. Fact of the matter is, I find a certain beauty in being beautifully fucked up. Crazy beautiful. That’s what I like to call it.

While surfing around these interwebz, I found myself in pretty good company. Want a list of other fucked up famous people? Here’s a few of my fav’s:

Buzz Aldrin, astronaut. Yes. We put a fucked up person on the moon. Then again, how do we actually know he was there? Maybe he just pretended to be while he was off his meds and his full account of being there was just a figment of his imagination.

Jim Carrey, actor. This should really not surprise you. Jim’s has had well-documented freak outs over the course of his career. Plus, I really don’t think he’s an actor. He is just being Jim. If he weren’t bipolar, he probably wouldn’t be nearly as funny. Bipolar people, for the most part, are pretty creative and funny. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves.

T S Eliot, poet. Okay. This dude wrote an entire ode to a Cat. Or, rather, a bunch of cats. For some reason, crazy people are often associated with cats. You don’t make fun of the crazy dog lady. No. It’s always the crazy cat lady who shares the Nine Lives with Fluffy and Waldo. Dog people don’t get our special brand of crazy.

Sigmund Freud, physician. *blank stare* Yeah. This one sort of speaks for itself. Next?

Marilyn Monroe, actress. Ah, Miss Marilyn. The quintessential poster child for the manic depressive. She’s up, she’s down. She’s high. She’s low. She’s pristine. She’s promiscuous. This is one of the more tragic cases of crazy on my list, because she really did have the world by the balls once upon a time. A big trademark of someone with manic depression is an over-sized ego that basically masks low self esteem. Oh, and large breasts. And a desire to sleep with the President. Barack is kinda hot now that I think about it…

Edgar Allen Poe, author. You’re seeing a lot of poets/authors and actors on this list. That is because really talented people are generally fucked in the head. Where do you think our creativity comes from? Life experience? Certainly…OUR life experiences which are vastly different than those of you “normies”. Poe writes about sex with corpses and black birds and tolling bells and Nevermore’s. He’s a scary bastard. Not Charles Manson scary…but the gentle scary of a person with bipolar disorder. We generally are not violent people…unless provoked.

Margot Kidder, actor. Another actor with a well-documented history of losing her mind. For four days, she roamed the streets of Hollywood, disheveled, dirty, homeless, without her teeth. Then again, she kind of sounds like my grandmother. Ah, but she has bipolar as well, so it’s all good. History of drug addiction. Another problem with we manic depressives are our addictive personalities. Sex, drugs…and obviously, Superman.

Vincent van Gogh, painter/artist. Yeah. Four words for you. Ear in a box. Which, of course, should not be confused with THIS which was epically funny but not at all related to mental illness. Well, maybe just a touch of borderline personality disorder with a dab of narcissism and a side salad of histrionic.

So, as you can see, I’m feeling pretty good about the company I’m keeping. And sure, someone will flame me for making light of the disease. But, keep your blood pressure in check. This is MY disease too. This is my life. I live and struggle with the wonders and the agonies of bipolar disorder every single day. I, however, choose to make light of an illness that nearly brought me to my knees once upon a time. Sometimes, you have to laugh…lest you never stop crying.

Lastly, let me leave you with a quote from someone with bipolar disorder that I admire greatly. Princess Leia. What can I say? I’m a sucker for chicks with cinnamon rolls on the side of their head. Plus, she has a Wookie.

But, seriously?

Bipolar disorder can be a great teacher. It’s a challenge, but it can set you up to be able to do almost anything else in your life.
– CARRIE FISHER

Truer words were never spoken and this time, I’m not laughing.

One year…Sober.

A quick glance at the calendar told me everything I need to see.

One year clean and sober.

I cannot believe it has been two years since I blogged about losing my job because of my addiction to drugs, namely opiates. That first year was horrible. The inability to put down the drugs, the multiple withdrawals every single time I tried. Losing friends. Losing family members. And of course…almost losing my life.

This past year, since the day I said “no more”, has been the most incredible year of my life. I celebrated by going back to my drug counselor to visit him. I had not seen him since November of last year. I was doing fine on my own and while I had every intention in the world of continuing to go back after formal classes were over, well, life just got in the way. Thanksgiving came and went. Then Christmas. The birth of my grandson in January. February was hectic. March was visits from family. April was filled with excursions and trips with my husband.

Finally, May. And it was time.

I bought him an “Angel” plant and a card detailing how often I think of him and how I give him so much credit for saving my life. He spent so much time with me over those months. He let me come in for private sessions when I needed to without charging me. He made himself available by phone any time I needed him.

When I came into class tonight, he teared up. He greeted me with the warmest hug. He had me sit next to him at the front of his new class, a group of addicts I had never seen before. Each of them was exactly where I was a year ago. You could see the pain, anguish and sorrow in each of their faces. Stories on women who lost their children because of their addiction. Men who lost their jobs and the ability to support themselves and their families. Mothers, grieving mothers, who were at the end of their ropes sitting alongside their precious babies who were so heavily addicted they could barely keep their eyes open.

I empathized with each of them in my own way.

Finally, toward the middle of class, Tom says, “Does anyone want to know who this lady is sitting to the right of me?”

A young lady named Jessica spoke up. “Yeah, I do. Why are you here,” she said to me. “You don’t look like you have any issues.”

You don’t look like you have any issues. My heart absolutely soared hearing that. Translation? I no longer look like a drug addict. I had my life back and apparently, you could see that in my appearance.

He had me share my story about my addiction to opiates, how I lost my job from stealing pain meds on the job. He had me talk about all the deceit and lies that I told in order to get more meds from the various doctors that I knew. All of it…out on the table and in front of an enraptured audience.

“So why are you here now,” she asked.

“Because today, today I am clean for one full year…and I couldn’t fathom being anywhere else but alongside the man who saved my life.”

Tom took my hand. I cried. He cried. The moms in the room cried and hugged their kids.

“It can be done,” I told them. “Patience, faith, hope, God…and Tom.”

We talked about other subjects. I listened to them, all the stories so familiar. I found myself nodding my head quite a bit. I relate. I understood. I get it. I was there.

And by the grace of God, I am not there any more.

I told Tom I was heading back to college in the fall, driving towards my Masters degree in Social Work and getting licensed as an Addiction Counseling Specialist. He was beaming like a proud father.

“You know I will be hitting you up for an internship,” I said.

“We need you here, CP. There will always be a place for you here,” he replied.

I gave him and some members of the group hugs as we disbanded. One mom came up to me. She gave me a hug. She touched my cheek.

“I just wanted to say, God Bless you. I think my daughter really heard you. She won’t open up to me. I’m just her mom. But I think she really related to you.”

I wrote down my phone number and handed it to her daughter.

“If you feel like you are going to use. If you feel like you are climbing the walls from withdrawals. If you are up at 3am pacing the floors and don’t know what to do with yourself…you CALL me. Day or night. I don’t care what time it is. I will be there for you to talk to. We can work through it together. You don’t need to use. You are 17. You have your whole life ahead of you. One day, you’ll be someones mom, wife…and this will all be just a blip on the radar of your life. You can do this.”

She hugged me and thanked me, her sad, tired green eyes were brimming with tears.

“I’ll call you,” she said.

The empty words of the addict. I understand that. I will probably never hear from her…but I know she will carry that number with her, perhaps put it on her bedside table. She’ll look at it every once in awhile and remember that someone made it through. And that gesture alone might keep her off the pipe for at least one more night.

I left there feeling lifted by God. I got in my truck and drove home with my heart lighter. A full year. An amazing year. A gift. Every single day is a gift. I know and appreciate that now…

and I will never, ever look back.

Well, that took awhile…didn’t it?

I finally snapped out of last weeks despair sometime this week. It coincided with Valentine’s Day for the most part. My hotband took me out to the beach hideaway that we love so much. We went for a very romantic (read: EXPENSIVE) dinner at another little hole in the wall that we don’t share with others. Then, we went back to the hotel and had absolutely incredible sex. No. Really. Incredible. I did something for him that I had not done in a very long time.

I played “dress up” for him. Yeah. Trashy lingerie. Big heels. Red lipstick.

The works.

Since being on my medications for bipolar disorder, it is not often that I feel creative anymore. Don’t get me wrong. Feeling sexy is a permanent condition for me. I have really good self-esteem and have always been proud of my body, no matter how big or small it has gotten over the years. However, the medications, while sparing my overly active libido, have completely taken away my desire to have fun with my sex life like we used to.

Ah, I remember the days of giving my husband lap dances in funky little outfits. Yep yep. The products of manic episodes. Alas, those manic episodes, while they still exist to a certain degree, no longer possess the punch of a Napalm bomb quite the way they used to. Plus, we’re together 10 years. There are only so many tricks you can pull out of your hat before you retire the magician, you know what I mean?

Anyway, after V-Day, he spent 9 wonderful days at home as the airports he usually flies out of were snowbound. I had this magnificent creature 24 hours a day for 9 days straight. What I have discovered is that he is a far better medication than anything I take out of a little brown bottle on a nightly basis. He’s fun. Even when he isn’t being funny…he is still fun to be around. He makes me laugh effortlessly. Even when I am being pissy and moody, he still manages to elicit laughter from me.

But, because he makes me feel so good…I tend to ignore my medications. I figure, I’m feeling pretty good. I don’t need them right now. So, I don’t take them. Three days will go by. Then, I will take one med here, another med there…not taking them steadily as I should and all of a sudden…

Thud. Depression.

I am trying to manage my brain. Really I am. I try to do the right things, but there is this little bit of defiance in my personality that doesn’t quite let me manage my care the way I should. Fuck the medicine. I WANT to be manic sometimes! I want the energy to clean my house, go shopping, make some dinner…LIVE a little.

It’s really hard having bipolar disorder. Really hard. Especially when you have the variety that I do, which is rapid cycling bpd. It’s hard to keep up with yourself. Right now, it’s nearly 4 am. I haven’t been to sleep. I’ve been up reading stories on serial killers all night. I am positively obsessed with serial killers. This is not a good obsession for someone with a mental disorder.

People like me should obsess over kittens or little fluffy things. Sparkly toys. Shiny things. Not mass murderers.

So, okay. I’m back on the game again, though not sleeping. But at least I am not in that deep, horrible funk I was in last week. Sometimes, I go back and read my posts and think…who the hell wrote that??

I will look at this one next week and wonder the same exact thing.

I have a really good post looming in the back of my brain. I wanted to post it yesterday, because the timing would have been great, but alas, my fingers and brain would not cooperate. But it is a good story that needs to be told.

In the meantime, a bowl of froot loops is in order.