Update on Neurotypical is Overrated

I’m going to count my new blog as having a successful start. I’ve managed to have a post every day since the beginning of April . . . even if a few of those posts were written by guest bloggers. I still managed to make it happen!

It’s got about 30 followers and at least one person who interacts with it on a regular basis.

Personally, I’ve had some really painful, difficult, and challenging times throughout it all, but, for the first time in a very long time, those things didn’t stop or completely derail me from working towards my goal! I feel REALLY good about that.

In a couple of weeks, on June 1st, I’m starting the next challenge, the next phase of building and growing my “platform.” I want to do more than blog for personal processing and growth. I want to help people through my story, my experiences, and my acquired knowledge. I want to let those going through things I have gone through, or am going through, know that they are not alone in their struggles and that there is hope to move through them.

It has been suggested (highly recommended . . . commanded even) that I write a book about my story. What I have learned is this, in order to have the maximum impact and influence, one needs to gain visibility and get the message out in various ways to make it as accessible as possible. There are many people who don’t read blogs, but who do watch videos.

So, in June, I’ll be doing a 30 Day Video Challenge with the Speak Write Now community hosted by my friend Robert Kennedy III (RK3).

I need all the support I can get. So, if you are a fellow blogger, join me in the challenge. If you aren’t ready to go video, then, please join me on the journey and watch the videos. I want your comments and your feedback. Once I have it set up, I’ll post the link to the video page here. You’ll also be able to access it through the new blog, Neurotypical is Overrated.

I look forward to seeing and interacting with you!

Writer’s fatigue . . . and life

I really don’t feel like writing today. At least not for the new blog, Neurotypical is Overrated. Thankfully, I actually got organized with it and I’ve got posts scheduled for about a week ahead. Which is nothing I was ever really able to do here. I suppose because this is my personal, stream of conscious blog.

Yesterday was REALLY hard. Consequently, I’ve had a tension/migraine headache off and on since last night. I couldn’t sleep well at all and had a really off vivid dream. I call it vivid because I felt semi-conscious during the dream and pretty much remember details and the overall “storyline.” It was almost like a VR experience of watching a movie or tv show.

So, I’m writing this, just to “push through” the writer’s fatigue and the fact that I can’t really do the focused writing for the other blog, but still need to stay in the flow of writing and the process of developing the daily habit and discipline of writing – even when I’m not feeling it and life has battered the hell out of me.

Instead of going into the details of yesterday, I’m just going to go through the victories of today, so far:

  • I got up and out of bed
  • I got my little girl up, without having to turn into the Momster
  • I got most of the tangles out of her hair before the school bus got here
  • She actually got herself dressed, mostly.
  • I followed through with watching a live video from one of the writer’s group I’m in.
  • I reached out to my oldest daughter to check in and see how she and my grandkids are doing.
  • I put some music on to help me deal with my zombie-ness
  • I’m seriously considering getting up and cleaning
  • I’m writing this.
  • My creativity is coming back!

I want to post the proof pics, but, they’re scheduled to be on a post for the other blog, in three days time. So, you’re just going to have to visit for the Fun Friday feature.

Anyway, that’s all the news that’s fit to print for this moment.

ttyl

Blessings and love,

Lillian

sonatA

Beautiful thoughts

Source: sonatA

A is for Art…

Source: A is for Art…

Beautiful statement art!

Neurotypical is overrated

About three weeks ago, my PNP and I decided to add Abilify to my medication regimen of 400 mg a day of Lamictal. I’d not had a true hypomanic episode for several months. However, I’d been in what I consider to be a mid-level depression since the end of September or beginning of October, which is usually the time of year the depression aspect of my bipolar cycle begins. This past fall, it was compounded by pre & post election shenanigans.

It took me a very long time to figure out the depression triggers are related to a series of unrelated events, which took place across different years and different ages. However, they all flow into each other on my unconscious depression trigger timeline. I won’t go into it here and now, since this isn’t what I want to address.

It seems the daily, tiny, 2mg dose Abilify has triggered a cyclothymic hypomania. After a five month depression, it feels a little good to be productive, have energy, and be able to string more than two thoughts together. I have an appointment with my PNP prescriber today.

Anyway, I’ve spent the past couple of days working on the launch of a new blog: Neurotypical is Overrated. I’m going to officially launch it with The Ultimate Blog Challenge & the 30 Day Writing Challenge, which both start on April 1st. My goal is to have the first week in the pipeline and ready to go by then. I’m hoping to have more ready to go before then, but that is what I think I’ll need to do in order to stay caught up. If I’ve done things correctly, I might even have the scaffolding in place to carry it out past that time.

Of course, that could be the hypomania at work, since I also have some pretty intense life stuff going on at the same time.

I’ve started working with a local, interfaith movement on human rights & social justice Sanctuary organization. I started out with a small cohort from my home faith community. However, the other cohort folks were overcommitted and had to withdraw. So, I’ve joined the host cohort, which is actually closer to where I live. So, I also get to build relationships and community where I live, while also getting involved and trained on issues that have meaning and enable me to do more than be an online FB, blogtivist.

It’s important to me to do something tangible, where I can show up in person, in the current political climate of events which are so threatening to the ideals, values, and survival of people like myself and those around me who are different from me. Resistance doesn’t have to be futile.

That’s also the goal of the new blog. This one has become such a mish mash of different things and more of a personal journal. I want the new blog to be more structured, organized, and purposeful when it comes to fighting the stigma surrounding mental health, disability, and poverty issues, especially the intersection of all of those things. My plan is to offer information, inspiration, solidarity, practical application, and a little fun.

I would say that I’ll be here less, but, I’m already barely and inconsistently posting here, lol.

If you’re interested in fighting stigma and supporting these efforts, you can help by checking out the blog, liking and sharing it if you think it’s worthwhile to do so. I’m also soliciting topic ideas, and guest writers. The guest writers can be anyone with personal or professional experience in dealing with those issues. If you’d like to contribute, leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading and thank you for your support and encouragement.

Midnight musings of a bipolar mind

I sit here, tonight, exhausted and grieving the fact that what I thought was helping to alleviate the persistent depression, is, in fact, helping…just not the way I thought. It has triggered a mini-hypomanic phase. So, instead of the constant, slow, and steady oppression of “mid-level” depression, I’m now experiencing a continual hypomanic cycle, scaled down and dialed back to a flowing stream instead of a flooding river.

I’m exhausted…and not just from the lack of sleep and disrupted sleep, which may or may not be related to the new, supplemental, medication. My little girl has been going through a rough time lately, which is exacerbated and amplified by her high functioning, autistic brain. Quite frankly, I’m living with a verbally and physically abusive eight year old child. A couple of days ago she told me she wished I was dead. Screaming, I mean the “Is it live or is it Memorex?” kind of piercing scream,

is almost a daily thing. Hitting and kicking are among her repertoire of behaviors when expected to transition from a desired activity into an undesired one: Bed to getting ready for school, playing to taking a shower, being home to leaving to go to the store. You get the idea.

Now, I have to go through the search and hiring process of obtaining the services of another Personal Support Worker for her, primarily because her abusive and erratic behaviors burn people out. Probably because I have yet to figure out how to hire someone mentally and emotionally equipped to do the job who has actually been educated and trained to work with children on the autism spectrum. It’s difficult to find someone with that level of education and experience, much less someone who is willing to work for less than $15/hr, 71 hr/mo, for me, and still have to look for additional work, while trying to accommodate the schedule we need the most.

My heart is breaking at losing the current person who’s been working with us. It’s a selfish thing and probably illuminates just how much work I still need to do on boundary setting and codependency. They listen to me. They want to support me as the underlying value of being her PSW. Since they are the only person of any intelligence and emotional stability I deal with on a continual basis during the week, who isn’t a professional service provider of some kind or part of a structured group gathering in a faith community, I’ve become a bit too dependent. Meaning, I could very well be nearing the stage of emotional vampirism.

The night we informed my daughter of this pending change, she was rudely ecstatic. It hurts me to see how hurtful she is to others. That hurts more than the things she says and does to me. I shared my bewilderment and concern about how vitriolic her words and attitudes are. I expressed my overwhelm and sense that I’m not doing enough. Between the depression, bipolar, ptsd, hypothyroidism, diabetes, and fibromyalgia, some days, many days, the only reason I get out of bed is the fact I have to get her up, ready, and off to school. I can only see what I’m not doing and getting done.

They told me how they had agonized over this decision for a couple of weeks, even to the point that it had been the primary topic in their meetings with their support person. They told me that the one thing that gives them hope in this situation and for my daughter’s future is seeing how hard I work for her benefit.

The women I met with yesterday, her DDS (Developmental Disabilities Services) Service Coordinator and her state provided ABA Consultant (ABA is a form of behavior therapy for those on the autism spectrum), also expressed how hard they see me working. Again, all I can see are the things I haven’t gotten done, either due to overwhelm, fear, or forgetfulness.

I even went so far as to let her Service Coordinator know that I’m fully aware of her Mandatory Reporter status and that I will never let that knowledge prevent me from being honest, for two reasons:
1. If I feel it’s reportable, I’ll share it because I KNOW I need additional support.
2. If I don’t know it’s reportable, then it’s EVIDENCE that I need additional support.

The reality is that I ALWAYS need additional support. Especially with this whole bipolar/ptsd thing happening in my brain.

This past weekend I learned that there are two different kinds of bipolar mania: euphoric and dysphoric. I learned about the dysphoric during a breakout session at this past weekend’s 3rd Annual Regional Shattering Stigma with Stories: Shameless day conference. In the same breakout session I learned that the supplemental medication I was recently prescribed to address the persistent depression is one of the many that can trigger mania in the bipolar brain. I should have known something was up, when I started feeling “up” almost as soon as I started taking the med. But, it felt so good to actually feel good after over four months of unrelenting depression.

The question is do I keep on this medication regimen for a while to see if it’s at a managable level that I can use constructively or do I assume that it’s all bad, no matter the degree, and go off the med, back into depression? I don’t think it really is a choice. I have cognizance and awareness, based on the information about what this version of mania looks like and how it was triggered. As long as I’m honest with my therapist and my prescriber, as well as myself, I think it’s doable.

Of course that could be the mania talking.

It’s a terrible thing to not be able to trust your brain.

How about a little empathy and compassion for our new FLOTUS?

Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of Melania. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really know her name or her relationship to our new POTUS until his campaign and new presidency. I am certainly NOT a supporter of the man who is now our 45th President.

I made the decision to share a link on Facebook to, what turned out to be, a controversial article regarding Melania Trump. The article contained few facts, was based on reported hearsay, and definitely slanted to garner sympathy for Melania. Apparently, the content is not to be trusted as factual or believable, since it is an article from the New York Post.

Typically, many of the things that I share hardly generate much response, other than by a select few of my actual friends who intentionally seek out what I’ve posted. This particular article, and my shared response to it, garnered some intensely negative reactions, as well as a couple of sympathetic ones. While I genuinely appreciated the sympathetic ones, it was the negative ones which, understandably, caught my attention and pushed my internal buttons. These comments triggered something in me which feels like a form of defensiveness, both on Melania’s behalf and my own.

She is not fit to be a. First Lady

My issues are with the glaring hypocrisy from the right. They called Michelle Obama things like “an ape in heels” and criticized her for showing her arms, but accept with open arms a woman who was a sex worker and compare her to Jackie O. They cheer on the immigration ban, while celebrating a woman who was an undocumented immigrant working in the US. My issues aren’t with her, they’re with the people who are celebrating her as some goddess while ignoring their own hypocrisy.

Do people really believe everything they read? Especially in The New York Post? . . . Fact check people.

I’ll address the last comment, first. Guilty as charged. I often forget to fact check articles I share . . . which is one reason I’ve really stopped sharing most articles. I’ve stopped reading most of them, too. I honestly don’t know which news outlet is trustworthy or not. Based on my limited college education, I’m aware that almost all reporting is slanted, whether intentionally or not.

As human beings, we are truly incapable of being completely objective and without idealogical motivation in everything we do. That’s just a simple fact of life. With the internet and the overwhelming influence of social media in our post-millenial lives, this is more true than ever before. I suspect that very little of what is reported as soon as the information is available has been completely fact checked by those who report it or express their opinions about what the information means. Ours is a generation both more sophisticated and naive than any before, in my opinion.

Now, onto what this is really about for me, going deeper than the sound bite and looking for the humanity we all share. In my case, I’m going to openly admit that the filters which I read the article through are deeply personal and rooted in my own history, as well as the knowledge I have acquired regarding mental health, domestic violence, and women’s roles in our society and others. What follows is merely my personal conjecture and hypothesis.

First, let’s examine the publicly displayed character and attitudes of Melania’s husband. He has shown himself to be a person who does what he wants without the consent or feedback of women. He has displayed distinctly misogynstic views and has been proven guilty of demeaning, dismissive, and verbally abusive behavior toward women. He has shown himself to be someone who revels in his personal power and is not hesitant to use that power to achieve his own desires and agendas. If he has zero qualms about presenting this as his public character and identity, is it beyond the realm of probability that he exercises these same traits and characteristics in his private life?

Now, let’s briefly look at what we know of Melania’s personal history. Her country of origin, Slovenia, was under communist Yugoslavian rule until 1991. Melania was born in 1970. She came to the US as a model in 1996. Based on what little I know of Eastern European societal norms, it is likely that she grew up in a supremely male-dominated society, where women probably had little power and influence. At 16, she began a modeling career. The modeling industry, like the movie and music industries, has a well-known history of being both male-dominated and exploitative of the “talent.”

My conjecture is that Melania was preconditioned to have a more submissive role in relationship to men who have positions of authority and power. It has been documented that, initially, she refused to be in relationship to Donald Trump. It was six years before they were engaged to be married. Is it possible that a man of his wealth, power, and position pursued her, unrelentingly, until she succumbed to the pressure of being aged out of her industry, partially due to his influence? Is it conceivable that he would use his role as her husband and his influence in our society, based on his celebrity, wealth, and power to dominate her in the context of their marriage?

Sexual dominance, financial control, isolation, and psychological manipulation are often tools used to perpetuate control over those experiencing domestic violence. Is it too far from the realm of possiblity to consider that this may be a factor in Melania’s life?

Regarding her history as a sex-worker and illegal immigrant. The actual facts we know to be true are that, in her job as a model, she posed nude for GQ. How many models are used in publications and advertisements as sexual objects? As a model, she was likely employed through agencies and represented by agents who had significant control and say over which jobs she took. While she was guilty of working illegally under a B1/B2 visa, that designation is for both those on temporary business and those who are tourists. As a model in our country on that type of visa, it is possible that those who arranged for her visa and business in our country misled her and that she believed that the work she did was permissible?

In terms of how she is viewed and spoken of by Trump supporters, is she personally responsible and accountable for their vociferous villification of Michelle Obama, their iconization of her, and their evident hypocrisy between those two stances? Is it fair to criticize her for either their behaviors or her husband’s? Is it acceptable to shame her, for any of these reasons? Is it compassionate or kind to publicly assasinate her character based on how we feel about her husband?  Do any of us have the right to pass judgment on her for our idealogical mores and values which she has not met?

We had eight years with Michelle Obama as our FLOTUS. She is a strong, powerful, independent woman in a mutually supportive personal and political relationship with her husband. She exercised her power and influence in visibly constructive and ethical ways. A significant number of us dearly miss her and her husband. Melania is not Michelle. Donald is not Obama. I don’t see how we can justifiably find fault with her for not being Michelle, when it is clear that she is a completely different person, with a completely different history, in a completly different relationship with her husband.