"Of all God's creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat." - Mark Twain

Monday, August 12, 2013

Voices Anonymous

I guess the day has finally come when I start this blog back up. I had hoped to generally leave it behind as a testament to my past but my past caught up with me last night. It had to happen, I guess, but it's easy to hope as the days quietly pass, that the voices will be gone forever.

It's just not so.

I was informed this weekend that I need to have blood drawn for some tests. Since my near-fatal pregnancy, I've had blood pressure problems and now I'm having twinges in my chest and I'm overheating badly with the air conditioner on 71. Putting off tests isn't a luxury I can afford so when I found I needed to do this, the panic switch flipped on and a few voices found their way out.

The first voice is a young, feminine voice who tells me that it's my husband's fault for "making me" contact my sister for medical advice. The second voice is masculine and he tells me I can't trust my sister - that she's punishing me for "bothering her" by forcing me to have blood drawn. The third voice is that of an older lady. It's very soothing and comforting which makes me trust it the least. Between all these voices, I heard weird noises: cracks, pops, whistles, music, whispers, etc.

When I got home, I took all my medication and went to bed. I haven't heard the voices today but I have to deal with the fact that I might. My brain has been relatively quiet for three years. Now I must face again the fact that I am mentally ill.

I must also consider how much of this I want to write here. I have no difficulty sharing my thoughts and feelings as you well know; however, some of my friends are concerned for me and have encouraged me to be more circumspect. I will be doing a lot of thinking before I post more details than this but I am still committed to helping people understand mental illness and not fear us so much.

What I've learned in this long break from blogging is that there is hope. There is a possibility for a better life. But there is also the truth - that illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder rarely (if ever) just "go away." They are usually lifelong illness which require lifelong commitments from the patient, the family, and the support team. You may get a break but you will probably never see an end to the illness until death.

If you are dealing with this, please get professional help. If you are a caregiver, please do the same. You need it and you are worth it.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Further Updates

First, I am no longer blogging at this site aside from the occasional update. I keep the site up in case the information may be useful to someone but I rarely look at it and I don't check this email. If you would like to get in touch with me, go to our new blog and use the contact info there: http://deep-friedfreethinkers[dot]blogspot[dot]com.

Secondly, I'm getting some hate from people who think I am the Skepticat from the UK. I am from the US and have nothing to do with the UK site. I don't know anything about that person.

Third, I've become much stronger emotionally through sheer stubbornness and persistence. If you want to disagree with what I've said, feel free.  But if you want to just drop in and leave insults, you're wasting your time. I don't care. I don't lose one minute's sleep over what someone on the internet thinks.

Finally, I still care passionately about mental health issues and I'm happy to share my experiences and what knowledge I have. If you have a serious question, I'll be glad to answer it. Go to the blog I referenced above and let me know what's on your mind.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

An Update

It's time for an update to this blog. I want to remind you that I am now blogging at Deep-Fried Freethinkers so if you want to continue to follow my work, that's where you need to subscribe. There you'll find our blog, links to our YouTube Appetizers, and a link to our podcast.

For those of you who just want to hear what's going on with me, I'll bring you up to speed. Since my last entry, these things have happened:

1. We have acquired a new home and are moving in soon.

2. I was diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) so now I have a new pill to take 4 times per day.

3. I was also diagnosed with Restless Leg syndrome.

4. I have come out to everyone as an atheist. My mom deals with it by pretending I never told her. I've had a cousin unfriend me on Facebook.

5. I have not gotten into therapy yet and I have not yet cried.

6. I have been awarded disability.

Let me start with the last one first. I didn't want to apply for disability and I put it off as long as I could. I knew it would be a hassle and I'd already heard about all the hoops I'd have to jump through - possibly for years - in order to ever get it. Surprisingly enough, all I had to do was fill out the paperwork, go see an appointed psychologist, and I won. No denials, no appeals. Apparently, I'm in such bad shape that it wasn't worth the fight. 

I realize now that I've been in denial about how serious my condition is. Even though my schizoaffective bipolar is generally well-controlled, my physical body is shot. My short-term memory is gone. It's so bad that I can change a password and, before I get the new one written down, I've forgotten it. I have very little stamina and I get dizzy if I bend over or squat down. I can't stand for any length of time. When I try to sleep at night, my legs tingle so badly from the calf to the ankle that I have to keep a vibrating pad under them just so I can get some relief. When my partner mentioned that maybe we should get a used wheelchair for trips like the Reason Rally and such, I had to admit that I'm just not as capable as I used to be. 

The IBS is a real problem. My intestines started swelling after most meals which caused terrible pain. My dad has ulcerative colitis and I can't help but wonder whether I'm following in those footsteps. I take dicyclomine 4 times a day now and it has helped a lot. But now I feel enslaved to more pills just to function.

My dreams have gotten crazy. I've also followed in my dad's footsteps now in that I fight with people in my dreams and scream at them. I wake myself up trying to yell and with fists clenched. I get little rest.

It's hard to know what to say about my Facebook friends and family. Most of them are cool but some of them are just babies. They want to say whatever they want but don't you dare contradict them or post anything disagreeing with them. I've decided that Facebook is the biggest ego cult machine ever and I wonder why I use it. I can't find any reasonable debate or conversation. It's either praise from the Amen Choir or stony silence or else OMG DNT U EVR SAY THT ON MY PAGE. I LUV MY JESUS!

I still hate Facebook. I hate it as much as I love it.

Well, that's all for now. Don't forget to check out our other site if you're interested in atheism, science, activism, and such. Otherwise, I'll see you here when I see you.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Today's Doctor Visit

Today's doctor visit was about as good as Thursday's lawyer visit was bad. This doctor was very professional, calm, and kind. He was there to do a job and I felt like he was completely honest with me.

To make a long story short, he confirmed my bipolar disorder but as part of schizoaffective disorder. So now I have schizoaffective disorder - bipolar type. I'm going to have to do some studying to fully understand the differences but I'm going to keep posting my mental health stuff under the category "Bipolar."

I'm running on 5 hours of sleep so forgive me for not taking more time to share with you today. I hope to have some information posted tomorrow.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How I Found My Rage

One of the hardest things to deal with since my life went to crap is how I don't have a lot of genuine feelings any more. Sometimes I get flashes of anger and sometimes I get flashes of fear. I can laugh at something funny but I don't feel the happiness really.

I found my rage today, or rather, someone gave it back to me. And while it feels horrible right now, I think ultimately it will be a good thing for me in my healing process.

I went to my lawyer's office to get prepped for my doctor's appointment on Monday. The gentleman walked me through some questions and encouraged me to be honest and direct.  Near the end of the interview, he told me that if I felt sad or needed to cry Monday while talking about my life, don't be afraid to - that it's ok to show what I'm feeling. I remarked that it might be difficult since I felt so empty now and my emotions weren't willing to surface too much any more.

That's when the whole session went to hell.

He sat at the table, looked me in the eyes and said, "Well, there's only one person who can fix that you know?"

I knew what he meant but I sat in shock. I had already explained to him twice how hurt and angry I had felt when the first hospital I went to had told me I needed church and Jesus. Surely he wasn't going to go there. He continued:

"You know who it is, don't you? I'm just gonna come right out and say it. It's Jesus."

Geez, I thought. You can't get away from Jesus in this town. I didn't say anything because I didn't want to encourage him. He mumbled some more about how Jesus could fix my problems - not that he would, necessarily - though he could if he wanted to.

I tried to be polite. "I thought that when I was 14 but it didn't work."

He persisted, "Well, I know you feel Jesus abandoned you but he hasn't. You just need to reach out to him again and he can make it better."

I'd had enough. I said calmly and politely, "No, I don't think he's abandoned me. I just don't think he exists. There's not enough evidence."

"Of course there's evidence all around you!" he exclaimed. "Just look around. You can go down Highway 4 and find evidence of God. I don't mean to preach at you but..."

"Then please don't," I asked.

Then he said it. "Have you ever seen a newborn baby?"

It was like a knife slashing across my heart. I felt raw anger ooze into me. I felt rage.

"Yes!" I snapped. "I saw my newborn son dead in my arms!"

The guy didn't miss a beat. "Well, how did he die?"

I didn't respond. The rage seeped into my throat and closed it temporarily. I saw red. I felt the adrenaline once again.

My poor sweet partner said quietly, "He was stillborn."

I'm not sure what else the man said but he muttered something else about Jesus and not meaning to preach.

I found my voice again and said coldly, "Is there anything else we need to discuss?"

"No," he sneered, "good-bye." And with that, he stood up and dismissed us like we were trash.

I left a message with the firm's owner for her to call me. I'm going to complain and let her know how unprofessionally I was treated. I worry now that my case may be compromised but, more than that, I'm sick to death of religious bullies who think they can shove their religion in my face any time, anywhere, with no regard to my feelings or the tragedies in our lives.

I'm taking a stand against anyone who would twist my son into a weapon against me.

I'm taking a stand against this even if I have to take on the whole town. It ends here with me.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Damage Control

So much has happened in the past couple of months. I've had to apply for disability. I've come out to my family. I've been attacked and outed by people in the community for my stand against the personhood amendment.

I have a lot of feelings about this.

Yesterday I felt pretty good. I was able to laugh and have a pretty good time. I felt creative. Today, I'm exhausted, angry, and hurt. I feel like I've done something wrong. I feel like other people are after me.

I hate bipolar disorder but I also hate humanity.

My situation with my mom went much better than it could have. She questioned and didn't want to believe it at first. The next day she attacked me, implying that I was a bully and just did stuff to hurt her. She went to great lengths that day to make it all about her which is normal considering her borderline traits. Now she really doesn't want to talk about it any more and wants me to be her best friend.

I reached out to my sister but I think maybe she's busy today. She seemed distracted. I feel guilty for bothering her.

I've done some damage control regarding the leak of my name and information. Some of it is already fixed and the rest will hopefully be fixed by tomorrow. I don't know how much damage is done. I don't really care that people know what I said online - I have not lied about anything and I stand by my beliefs. But it's disconcerting to know that someone out there that you do not know is trying to make your life hell while they hide behind their computer and laugh.

For some reason I feel angry and alone. I think the feelings are disproportionate to the events. It would be better, I think, if I could face my persecutor on even terms - face to face. Instead, I feel like he's a sniper and he's taking pot shots at me. I had little respect for this person before this: his dishonesty and complete lack of intelligence were not worthy of much respect. Now that he's done this, I have zero respect. A person who is so hateful and stupid should not be able to make me feel this way.

I know this whole thing is going to blow over in a month when the vote is done. I also know that I don't need to encourage this idiot any more by replying to him in any way. Yet it galls me beyond belief that he will have the last word and think he has silenced me. He has not scared me off - he has made me angry. Yet I do not want to overreact and make a mistake in my anger.

What do you guys think? What's the best way to deal with someone who has leaked your name and information and is telling lies? Is it really weakness to just walk away? And what is best for me and my health?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Day Has Come

It's been a long time in the closet and I'm tired. I've really put myself out there since I started writing this blog, the other, and becoming active on several sites. I'm tired of having to keep quiet while people parade their religion and political views. I'm tired of having people use the word "atheist" around me like it's a dirty word. I'm tired of people trying to impose their religion on me through the ballot box.

And most of all, I'm tired of worrying that someone is going to out me to my family.

Now the day has come, it seems, because I've been placed under that threat. That's ok. I haven't said anything that's not true and that I would take back. The chances of my parents finding out this week are extremely high so I've made the first move - the one I've wanted to make for a long time. I wrote my mom a message and told her the truth.

I don't know how she'll react and I can't be responsible for that. I have to be responsible for my life, my actions, and my words. I'm proud that I can now attach my name and face to those words if I so choose. I'm glad that I can be free to speak my mind and, if someone doesn't like it, they can either say so or shut up.

I'm glad that I can finally be me!

My name is Jen. I'm an atheist with bipolar disorder. And I don't care what anybody thinks about it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Important Changes

Hi, guys! It's been a while so I want to let you know some important things.

1) I will be blogging about atheism, skepticism, and science from a redneck point-of-view at Deep-Fried FreeThinkers from here on out. My handle there is Tweenky D (long story) and you can expect more of the same content as usual. We plan on starting a podcast as soon as we can get our sound room set up. If you want to continue to follow my work there, please bookmark or follow us at that site. It is a work in progress so it will be changing as time goes by but the content should be quite regular.

2) This blog will remain up and I will be using it to talk about mental illness in general and my bipolar experiences in particular. I've been very lax of late due to this severe depression but I want to recommit myself to the goal of sharing these experiences - particularly now that I've been forced to apply for disability.

3) I hope you will all continue to follow and keep in touch on at least one of the two sites. You are all very welcome and we appreciate your feedback. Any comments or suggestions will be seriously considered.

Love you guys very much (in a very general cybery kinda way)...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Other

There was a time when I was young that I could look at myself in a mirror and be amazed at the intricacies of my eyes. As time went by, I lost that ability. I would look in the mirror and instead of seeing blue-green irises, I would see another entity inside me - a dark, mysterious force. Sometimes it seemed that I see that other girl staring back at me malevolently, her eyes flashing with malice and the corners of her lips pulled up in a small smirk. On the really bad days, I could feel her inside me. I could hear her inside my head. It seemed as if all my hurt and rage was concealed in her glare.

Now almost 25 years later, I can see her again. I can feel her in my mind. Since I have no real anger of my own, I guess it's saved up in this "other" I have created. She doesn't share my beliefs or my concern for others. She doesn't care about anyone or anything. She hates and despises the world because she can only see it through my cynical eyes. She has no hope and no vision. All she knows is rage.

Which of us is real? Is she a projection of my repressed anger or am I a projection of her repressed goodness? Why is she in my mind? Why can I feel her strength in my arms? Why can I hear her words coming out of my mouth?

Which of us is in control?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The New Men of Science and Learning

This post is going to sound petty and mean-spirited. Maybe it is. I've seen so much of this since I moved back home that I almost can't believe myself how much stupider people have gotten since I left. Not a day goes by that I don't read something that among thinking people would be labeled insane but around here is considered normal. Compare this letter to the editor from WND:

So where do things like gravity come from? How do you explain the complexity of the cell? How can the flagellum, a single part of a cell which is itself comprised of around 30 parts, happen by chance? Especially when the absence of just one of those 30 parts renders it useless? The sheer complexity of life makes the belief that it happened by chance borderline lunacy. The earth has exactly the right environmental conditions (water, temperature, oxygen, etc.) as well as exactly the right solar orbit (gravity, axial tilt, etc.) and location in the galaxy for life to prosper. You're saying that all this and more happened by chance. [Huge argument from ignorance but coherent]

Ever hear of Copernicus, Galileo and Newton? They knew the universe was created with understandable, discoverable laws that governed its operation, and their faith was a key driving force in their discoveries. [Argument from Authority but coherent]

with this sampling of responses from a local discussion site:

hell is hot.Thanks for playing

kneel down tonight and ask God if what you(gays) are doing is ok, if he answers yes, then u better pray again because it is not right

You would no nothing of scripture if it hit you right in the face! 

God is good all the time all the time God is good!!!

Sorry, your blinded with hatred. If the rich man came out of hell itself and told you its real, God Jehova isreal you still would not believe! 

If you was really wanting to know the mind and heart of the True and Living God he would reveal himself to you. I can tell just by some of the few po dunk post you have made you just have alot of hatred in your heart!

...you f'ing nuts if you think there is homosexual acts in nature and animals your just loopy!

As usual you shot off w/out knowing the context on alot of these verses.

The Lord doesnt take human sacrafice. He sent his son to die for us.

You havent proven anything with ur po dunk arguments!

You have the book on how to live,and how not to live maybe if you studied it instead of wasting time posting here.Things might be more clear to you.

Are you mad because we have the bible or are you mad because you cant comprehend it .
If your going to mouth about the bible how about educate yourself a little.

If your going to use the word Yahweh then spell it correctly. YWHW Your welcome

What the hell kinds of arguments are these? Is this really the best we have to offer? We live in an age of great achievement and this is what we are churning out of our schools. These people cannot think, cannot write, cannot formulate any sort of meaningful response yet they think themselves brilliant. They think they have "won" an argument that they can't even begin to comprehend.

How do we deal with this? How do you reach people who are seemingly beyond reach? Why are these people not laughed straight off discussion boards? Is this the best Mississippi can offer? These people think they are the new men of "science" and "learning." What a joke!

These people breed and these people vote. Let's hope the next generation will look at the sheer, blind ignorance of their parents and strive for something better.