Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Being and happiness

Peanut and I had an interesting discussion today that reminded me of something.

Being happy is hard.  I think it takes more energy than being unhappy.  Maybe other people are different, and maybe this is just my Crazy Mom influence, but "happy" is not my natural state of being.  I have to look for reasons to be happy, and I actively argue with myself in my head whenever I feel myself getting upset.  It takes a lot of internal head-discussion to convince myself to let go of something when I'm bothered by it.

I choose to believe that's something that lots of people struggle with.  Don't ruin my delusions.

So Peanut mentioned that it's hard to avoid comparing her situation in life with other people around her.  Let's be honest; most people do the same thing.  But it's fun for everyone when a crazy mom does it!

Some highlights:

If you don't have a house on the beach like your sibling does, it's because your spouse has failed to provide for you!

And if you don't have at least $2,000 of free spending money every month, it means your spouse is cheating on you!  How else would all of the money disappear?

Everyone else in your city drives clean cars!  When your spouse spends all week working in another city and drives back home on the weekends, make sure you start by nagging about how dirty his/her car is!  Remember: it's incredibly thoughtless to pull into your own driveway with a car that hasn't been washed in 2 weeks.

Everyone has cable!  If your own daughter doesn't have cable at her apartment, she's a heathen.  In fact, it's too embarrassing for your own child to not have cable.  You'd better call the cable company yourself and arrange for them to install cable for her, so she will realize the error of her ways.  (To be fair, this one happened before the advent of Netflix.  But still.)

How dare the neighbors bring you packets of hot chocolate at Christmas?  They must not buy anything nicer because they don't have as much money as you do.  It's a good thing you have lots of money, so you can buy the newest electronics every year.

That new TV in the store looks so much better than the one you bought a year ago, and it's bigger!  Better grab it while it's on sale.  It can just sit in the box until you figure out which room it should go in.

Those houses on TV look so nice with their exotic flooring ideas!  That means your house would look great that way, too!  You might as well buy all of those materials now in preparation for doing that yourself.  And a shrimp sink really helped that one place, so it couldn't hurt to pick one up so you'll have it ready when you come up with a good location for it in your own house...

The coup de grĂ¢ce?  Did you know that if your spouse isn't bringing home at least $1,000,000 a year, it must mean he/she's hiding money from you?  Go, tell your significant other about this wonderful new knowledge!  Do it now!

Seriously, though, there is always a reason to be unhappy.  The real trick is figuring out which reasons really matter, and then ignoring the ones that you know you won't remember or care about in 3 months.  In honor of Crazy Mom, let's all take 5 minutes today and think about reasons to be happy.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The List of Insanity

I promised a list!  Everyone here loves lists, right?  Good!

But there's really only one list that I'm capable of writing.

I want to make this clear: none of these points make anyone a bad person.  But they do mean you (or your loved one) should seek advice from a trustworthy professional.  Remember: it's okay to not be normal.  Just be aware of that fine line between "eccentric" and "batshit crazy."

Signs that you (or someone you know) might be crazy:
  1. Your house is in a decent neighborhood, but there's wax paper over all of the windows "so no one can see in"
  2. Your house is covered in security cameras
  3. You never leave your house (and you have a new excuse whenever anyone asks)
  4. You crouch down in your car if you do leave your house, "so no one will notice"
  5. You're always afraid of something
  6. The Enemy (the culprit behind all of your unhappiness) changes on a weekly basis
  7. You have proof that The Enemy exists: it's a grainy, pitch black image taken by a cheap security camera at night
  8. Those dirty smears on the skylight (which hasn't been cleaned in years) are actually threatening messages written by The Enemy, but no one believes you
  9. The police "never do anything" with your police reports (which means they must be in league with The Enemy)
  10. The Enemy is "pure evil"
  11. You never get rid of anything (and you say you're "about to start going through it" if anyone asks)
  12. You use an old SUV that can't move anymore as a large trash container
  13. You always think that if someone asks for one thing, they actually need a box of those things
  14. Your house is full of things you don't need and don't have a place for
  15. You keep buying more things because it makes you feel better
  16. As soon as anything goes missing, even inside your house, you immediately think it was stolen
  17. You use a shovel to scoop your cat's litter box
  18. You keep a plastic bin full of cat hair that you brushed off of a cat you had five years ago
  19. Family and friends watch the news/hoarding shows expecting to see you on TV
  20. The cat puke on the rug has been there for five years
  21. You think you're the only person who can stop The Enemy/catch the thieves/save the kittens
  22. You believe no one will take you seriously unless you exaggerate things a little bit (but it's not the same as lying, because you'd never lie)
  23. You're capable of justifying anything that you say or do, because you'd never say or do anything wrong
  24. When your family brings up the possibility of therapy or something being wrong, you get defensive and claim they need therapy
  25. You are the unhappiest person you know
If you want to hear more about any of those points in particular, just leave a comment.  Otherwise, I'll start going through stories as I see fit.  Mwahahahahah!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Adventures in Medicating

Skip this post if you're not interested in my ongoing medication/therapy/mental health roller coaster. THERE. You've been warned.

A little over a year ago, I started a new medication. It's one commonly used to treat bipolar disorder, but in my case it was being used for, as my doctor put it, "treatment-resistant depression." At first, this drug seemed to be doing the trick. I don't remember if I updated later, nor do I currently have the energy to look, but in any case the initial high that I seem to get with any new anti-depressant once again didn't last. I stayed on it, and felt like maybe I was just able to cope better than before, and thus it was certainly helpful, right?

At some point, my company switched insurance companies and the doctor who prescribed this medication didn't take the new stuff. Figures. I found a new place where they use nurse practitioners for the medication part of mental health wellness, and once again went through the intake process. She asked me questions about feeling manic, but since my answers were all negative, I didn't think anything of it. I didn't like this nurse much, so when she transferred offices and I was assigned someone new, I was happy. I did sort of a mini-intake with the new nurse, since she had the notes from the previous woman, and when she made mention of bipolar now and then, I simply thought she was being general or thorough about what this medication was for and could do - I didn't realize right away that she inferred by the prescription itself that someone, somewhere, had actually diagnosed me as bipolar.

Several months ago, we tried weaning me off the medication, but I had a bit of a breakdown so that decision was reversed. I went back on, but at a lower dosage, and added in anti-anxiety pills. By now, there's a girl at my pharmacy who knows me by sight. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that, although I suppose it's kind of nice not to have to spell my last name every time anymore. If any of the other employees now recognize me and remember my name, they at least hide it.

Between these 2 drugs, I once again felt like I was, at least, capable of handling stress. It was better than before. But, sidebar, let's talk about my cat's health for a minute. This last year he was diagnosed with IBD, which is actually kind of a funny thing to say a cat is "diagnosed" with, because the loose translation of IBD in cats is "we don't actually know what's wrong, but it's definitely something with his digestive system." The treatment is quite similar to that of mental health treatment for people: try these drugs... see how it goes... maybe try these drugs with those drugs... how's that? no? okay, let's try these and maybe some of that... It goes on like this until you find the right cocktail. Guess and check.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Crazy Talk: Prologue

I have to preface all of this by saying that I love my parents.  They dedicated the best years of their lives to making sure I would have a chance to enjoy mine.  I do appreciate that.  I don't blame them for when things went awry, and I believe they still do the best they can with the options they're comfortable with.

That said, my mother is crazy.  She wasn't always as crazy as she is now, and it's an uncomfortable topic for the rest of my family.  I have so many stories.  I want you to know that it's okay to laugh when you think it's funny.  I laugh about it sometimes, too.  Sometimes, that's all I can do.  It's a horrible situation, and it might make me a horrible person, but a sense of humor helps keep me grounded in reality.  It helps to remind myself that no, it isn't normal.  I'm actually afraid that if I start to think it's normal, I'll end up the same way.

There were some early signs that things weren't quite right.  But first, if you find yourself thinking that you're the most worthless or unhappiest person you know, please talk to someone about it.  If you read the rest of this or any of my later posts and think it sounds eerily familiar, seek out a trustworthy professional.  You owe it to yourself and to the people you care about.  Just by doing that, you'll be taking a huge step toward helping yourself live the life you deserve to live.

I really wish that my own family had recognized the warning signs before it got worse.