Anger

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Yep, gonna lose some followers.  I wish them well, and I completely understand if my foul mouth isn’t their cup of tea.  To be honest, “fuck this shit” is a phrase I have said many times, and cursing is a big part of who I am.  I swear like a sailor when the kids aren’t around; well most of the time I make sure they aren’t around.  Unsavory language has gotten me through numerous dicey moments, and it has prevented me from exhibiting dangerous road rage. There have even been impressive studies conducted showing the benefits of swearing! (I’m too lazy to cite them, however, but I believe it!;)

Some of you will be familiar with the famous poem “Children Learn What They Live“.  I grew up with a poster of that poem on the wall in our house.  Over the years I’ve found that Children Learn What They Live  is truer than true.  Both my parents cursed openly, and they were my primary teachers when it came to cussology.  

Last year I listened to a cassette tape that recorded my father playing his violin.  My Dad was a brilliant violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic/Fulbright Award Winner/Juilliard graduate.  While listening to the beginning of the tape I heard him tune up before playing a magnificent composition.  Imagine my reaction when I heard him muttering “Testing, 123, fuck you! Testing, 123, fuck you!” just before launching into a complex masterpiece on his Stradivarius.  Talk about a contrast from one sound to another!

Dad would have definitely liked the profane image of the serene guy flipping the bird gracing the top of this post.  The photo certainly made me laugh.  It felt good to chuckle, and I hope you giggle a bit over it too.  Life is serious enough as it is, and it’s healthy to make light of certain things now and then.

And now, moving right along, I’d like to write a bit about ANGER.

If you’re familiar with my writing, I’m sure you’ve noticed that many of my posts have been fueled by my intense anger. I was brought up by a rage-a-holic and an alcoholic.  Ever since I was a baby, I was around physical violence (which I observed; I was not physically abused, thank God.) and I grew up with verbal abuse.  

It makes sense that I too became a rager, and I was verbally abusive to people I loved, although I’ve come a long way in that area.  I’ve rarely been physically violent; the only time I can remember hitting someone happened when I was manic.  I’m surprised I haven’t been more violent considering all the fights I witnessed.  No wonder I have an anxiety problem! 

Anyway, despite some people thinking I’m “so nice”, I’m a very angry person and my anger grew much worse after I was diagnosed with bipolar one disorder in 2007.  Writing about my anger helps me.  

The addition of my Lucy puppy has been so good for me – she helps me to diffuse my anger in her magical canine way.  She mellows me out.  My daily workouts on my elliptical, in which I sweat so much I create a giant “butterfly” pattern of sweat on my ratty tank tops, levels out my anger too, but exercise is a temporary solution to a deep-seated problem.  

I’ve examined  my anger with my therapist Tara, but to quote Karen Carpenter, “We’ve only just begun!”  I need to discuss anger more with Tara because it continues to be a dominant part of my personality and I hate it!  (That’s a kind of oxymoron, I know!)

I realize that anger is a normal and healthy part of one’s makeup.  I can’t expect to eradicate anger from my brain.  I just need to bring this rage down a few notches…most likely even more than a few.

When I was young I learned that anger can be a positive trait in one of my all-time favorite books: Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time.  The protagonist Meg Murry is one very angry teenager.  Her scientist father has mysteriously disappeared and there is “talk” in her village about him.  She’s unattractive compared to her stunner of a genius mom.  To add to the mix, Meg’s little brother won’t talk in school and he’s bullied by a bunch of his classmates.  

While on a search to find her father in another galaxy, Meg is instructed by three pivotal characters to use her anger as a “gift” when she faces the evil IT on the planet of Camazotz. Interestingly, Meg utilizes her anger in a unique, powerful way to overcome evil. 

I wish I could be more Meg-like when it comes to anger management!

What am I so angry about? you may be wondering at this point.  I have a hell of a lot to be grateful for, starting with you, my faithful reader.  I have my health, my family, a roof over my head, ice cream in the freezer.  (A lot of ice cream!)  Since I have all these fantastic blessings, why all the damn anger?

It’s a good question.  

When a person is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she sometimes feels anger at God for “giving” her the illness, and/or anger at a parent for passing along the genetic predisposition.  I went through a phase in which I was angry at God, but I no longer feel that way.  I believe the reason I relinquished that particular anger is because I’ve reached the beginnings of my recovery over the past year. 

But despite my blessings, the anger still festers.  

It’s based on the fact that most of my family members and friends totally bailed out on me when I relapsed with bipolar depression exactly one year ago.  There’s a lot more to it than that single sentence, of course.  But that’s the gist of it.

In July, 2013, I was hospitalized forty minutes away from home for almost three weeks.  I had slowly, methodically tapered off my bipolar medications for over twelve months prior to my relapse.  At first I was manic, and then I became depressed/suicidal, hence my admission to the hospital’s mental unit.  It was euphemistically named the “Garden Pavilion”.  (Ha!  There was no garden to be seen there – not even a single nice plant or window overlooking a garden!)

In that hospital, I was forgotten.

The thing is…I needed visitors at that hellhole more than anything.  I was the only patient who didn’t have visitors apart from my husband and children.  My sibling, who lives just minutes away from me, didn’t visit me.  My mother didn’t visit me.  My husband’s family didn’t visit me.  My closest friends didn’t visit me.  I didn’t receive any cards, plants, flowers, chocolate, books, phone calls you-name-it.  

I can’t tell you how much this unit sucked. To top things off, I was never taken out into daylight the entire time I was there.  That in itself is enough to make any sane person a little batshit crazy.

Now, some in my circle will totally disagree with me about my perspective about what happened last summer.  In part, I blame our society for its lack of mental health education for people staying the hell away from me.  But I remain baffled about what took place last July.  If I had cancer you can bet your ass I would have had visitors.  

So you can see I’m still really pissed off – my counselor believes I have PTSD from that ordeal – she doesn’t use that term lightly, and I totally agree with her on that point!

The first word that comes to my mind in this moment is “forgiveness”.  

I have to let it go (dammit, “Frozen” ruined that phrase for me!) and forgive my family and friends, but it’s reallllllly hard to let that all go.  I am hoping that time serves as a panacea to this dilemma.

If you were in a loony bin for three weeks and no one visited you or called/sent you a card except your partner, how would you feel?

 

 

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50 thoughts on “Anger

  1. I empathize with you. I am still incredibly angry. I can’t get past it. The losses are tremendous. It’s hard to “let go” when u are surrounded by the aftermath daily. U can’t pick up the pieces because your life has been destroyed as u once knew it, at least for me. Job, career, home, friends, some relatives, co-workers, etc…gone!! How do u rebuild what was lost???? I have put myself out there and have yet to make a friend or regain those I have lost. I have come to the realization that I have to accept the reality of my illness. It doesn’t matter how normal I appear. I will always be “BIPOLAR” in others eyes! I don’t want to be somebody’s sympathy case. I just want to be treated like a human being! I am not perfect and my biggest imperfection is being bipolar! Sooooo yes I am angry! It’s difficult to channel the anger and yelling obscenities does help but it is not going to change the outcome of my illness. I can’t change how others feel about Bipolar! It is just not accepted. I can’t lie to myself and pretend I am not angry. So I understand your position completely! I live with the anger daily. I was hospitalized several times, 30 days at a time! No calls, no flowers, no visitors, no candy, no support the majority of the time. I have many things to be thankful for and many blessings but it is hard to erase the rejection and pain. I have made the decision be an advocate for others dealing with mental illness and I am currently writing a book about my story. Hopefully through this I can begin to heal and learn to forgive. Most of all, I hope I can help others.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment – you made me feel good for truly, completely “getting it” in regard to my anger.

      You are already helping others by writing, my dear. That’s fabulous about the book & advocacy- please keep us posted!!!!!!!! I have high, high hopes for you!

      love,
      Dyane

      1. Thank you so much for being thoughtful enough to respond! Your encouraging words will help others as well! I am impressed by your caring responses to your readers! Keep up the good work! You have quite a following already:)!!

    2. p.s. I hope this doesn’t offend, but this thought just came to me: “too bad you don’t live near me as we could start an anger support group -I have a really fancy Everlast, punching bag and bright, pink neon boxing gloves!!!” 😉

      1. Ha ha ha! You and I think so alike, bipolaraftermath – you must be one cool cat….I would totally want to decorate the punching bag with a picture of the meanie. :))) Thanks for making me laugh!

      2. My aunt, after her husband died of cancer, did actually get a punching bag at the advice of someone. She used it awhile and there it sat dusty afterwards. I like the pink gloves visual. 🙂

  2. I couldn’t help but find the clip of your dad’s “testing, testing” funny. No, we most certainly cannot eradicate anger from the brain bc we can’t, from the soul. And we can’t from the soul because anger is not the root issue but the manifestation of something deeper, namely fear, shame, or hurt.

    1. Hey Holistic Wayfarer – I’m glad you found the part about my Dad’s “testing” bit funny! 🙂 I thought it was hilarious! (great minds think alike. ha ha) What you wrote rings true about anger being the manifestation of something deeper such as fear/shame/hurt. Thank you for stopping by my blog and taking time to read & comment. I’ll check out your blog soon!

      take care,
      Dyane

  3. Hi Dyane,

    Honestly, swearing is all we have sometimes! I spent my first two years out of high school in the military. My wife swears more than I do and is one of the most blunt and direct people you will meet, but given how crap her life has been, kinda hard to understand why she wouldn’t. Out of sheer frustration at being screwed over by enough people, most of us get to the point where being polite and toeing the line seems ridiculous and pointless. You can only take so much bullshit before you just don’t care about being polite anymore. You save being nice for the people who deserve it!

    Thinking about being deserted, my wife and I have both one by one lost all our so-called friends and family after becoming mentally ill. Not one has stood by our sides and all seem to expect both of us to magically become the people we were pre- illness. My wife has been constantly lied to for years and promised jobs, help, support, friendship that never happened and it almost broke her. She has immense trust issues and fears she will never have another friend in her lifetime. She has become so fearful of people and the world outside our house that she never leaves it without me, serving home detention for no crime, this has gone on for at least 5 years. The closest she can get is the letterbox outside our house and that causes massive panic attacks.

    For my part, I had my dream job, pension savings, friends, trust in humanity (except for my lovely wife and step-daughter) and hundreds of thousands of dollars ripped away from me after my psychopathic manager bullied me for 4 years solid. By the time I snapped, I had PTSD from his constant daily bullying, and a diagnosis of Bipolar Type 2. Essentially me, my wife and daughter live on the poverty line in a sub-standard house with no money to fix anything (The gods alone know how many times I’ve repaired shitty appliances that are hanging on way past their use by date).
    Sure it would’ve been nice to have some friends stick around. But it turns out they were all self interested fucks anyhow.

    We simplify our lives by having no room for toxic people. Friends and family don’t get a free pass to hurt us. No one does! You have to be ruthless about that shit, or else you go under with all the stress they heap on you.

    With our issues, life’s pretty tough as is. no way are we gonna buy into more shit than we can handle. We run away at the first sign of danger. Geez, we don’t even answer the phone or the door if someone comes calling. We’re like cockroaches stuck in the middle of the kitchen when you turn the light on in the middle of the night.

    We hide!

    Our lovely girl nearly died two months ago from complications with Crohn’s; My wife nearly bled to death four years ago from uterine fibroids. We’ve all been through a lot.
    We don’t take shit lying down anymore. But we do pick our battles.

    But ANGER? We got some.

    Oh hey, Dyane… you asked if I had a blog the other day. I said no, but look – here it is in your comment section LOL! (When I told my wife about it, she said I could do a blog easy!)

    1. James, this is one of my favorite comments of all time. I think you should create a blog!!! Your wife is totally right! “Welcome to James’ Brain” or “Kia Ora! Now Go Fuck Yourself!” (for anyone else reading this, that’s a JOKE!)

      I am actually dead serious about you starting a blog- I would be thrilled! I’d tell everyone I know about it! What do you say? It might be a nice catharsis for you!

      Reading this comment of yours was heartrending – I really connected with everything you wrote. I used to live with a good friend/housemate who had Crohn’s and I saw firsthand what it did to him – I am SO very glad your girl made it through that hellish crisis. As far as your wife & the uterine fibroids goes, what a nightmare. My mom had those too and she said they were awful.

      I REALLY loved what you wrote, particularly:

      “We simplify our lives by having no room for toxic people. Friends and family don’t get a free pass to hurt us. No one does! You have to be ruthless about that shit, or else you go under with all the stress they heap on you.”

      Yes, James, you are right there on all counts. These days the person I trust the most in my life apart from Craig is my American Collie mix puppy Lucy. (Yes, she IS a person, dammit!) 😉 My friend thinks she’s my Dad reincarnated – who knows? All I know is that I adore her even if she’s pooping and peeing everywhere and not getting the housetraining concept down just yet. She will.

      My heart really goes out to your wife. Tell her I said hello and that I truly understand how she feels in not wanting to go out of the house, the panic attacks, feeling like she’ll never make another real friend in this lifetime, etc. I get it all.

      I am honored to be connected with you. You’re an incredible, lyrical writer full of passion and authenticity. I hope we remain in touch for a long time.

      take care of yourself, dear J, & continue to take good care of your “significant otter” as I like to call them! 😉
      Dyane

  4. I love cussing. 😀 You may have already realized that. And goddamnit I am angry FOR you!!! You deserved better than what you got. That hurts. And I’ll tell you a secret. A lot of times when I am at my angriest, it’s actually shielding me from a little brokenhearted girl within who is crying her eyes out. But anger is so much less vulnerable than being with that hurt. I support you being angry and walking all the way through it, wherever it leads. I wish you healing. You are a dear person ❤

    1. Hey hey Lady Fire, what a fantastic comment. You’ve always been there for me, and your support is just the bees knees. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist writing that!) Let me re-phrase it to something more bipolaronfire-esque: your support is fucking awesome! 😉

      You are absolutely correct that a little brokenhearted girl lies beneath the flames of my anger. And no, I don’t want to expose her, so I slide into the angry zone. It seems much easier to do, but it’s an insidious habit that results in a festering, infected wound. It sucks shit! So on I go on, hoping that I’ll ultimately banish the draining, angry devils in my brain, and move on to focus on affirming thoughts, projects and people who I feel good to be around. I think it’s possible now!!! xoxoxoxox

  5. Dyane, it hurts when those you thought were friends abandon you in any difficult situation. It’s when you discover who your true friends are. I picked up on a line you wrote in response to someone else: “I will work on this issue – I will. I have to because it’s making me too bitter, it drains my joy and energy.” I think that’s deep insight, and a necessary step toward your own healing.

    “Letting go” of anger, or even stepping into forgiveness, isn’t about absolving someone of a past hurt. It’s about allowing God to work on our own hearts: to heal us, to unclench our jaws and fists, and lay down our burdens which allow us to be filled not only with His love, but the love of those around us. It dissolves the barrier between us and those who truly love us so we can once again experience the fullness of love in those relationships.

    Bless you for being open, vulnerable and courageous enough to write about the truth of your heart.

    1. Dear Susan, I am blessed to have comments such as yours. Thank you for acknowledging that I have any insight (let alone deep! 😉 into the problem of my anger.

      After I read your comment the other day, I found myself spontaneously praying to God more than usual. I’m not religious, although I’ve called myself a “cultural Jew” as I was born Jewish & grew up with some of the traditions, but not many, and no Hebrew school. I never formally studied Judaism. As an adult I attended services at a few Christian churches where I live, but nothing “took”.

      Ever since I was diagnosed with bipolar, I envied those who had a strong faith. I especially envied one of my favorite writers Madeleine L’Engle, who was very religious/spiritual and she referenced her faith often in her 60+ works. I felt that if I had grown up with a strong faith, I would never have felt suicidal the way I did, with a suicidal intention so strong that I had to be hospitalized for it twice. I felt abandoned by God.

      Luckily I no longer feel abandoned by God, but as anyone who has read this blog knows, I’m still struggling in all sorts of ways. I’ll open myself up to God more because I don’t know what else to do – therapy & meds and other things can only help so much, you know? This will sound simplistic, but I think time will help me in terms of smoothing out some of my anger and help me relinquish, if not all, a big portion of it.

      I’ll be writing about how that all ensues over the years, I’m sure.

      Thanks again for your beautiful words, Susan. They help provide me with a different perspective than my angry, icky, narrow one – I prefer your outlook! :))

      1. Dyane, sounds like we have much in common. I, too, was raised Jewish, though more cultural and traditional. We celebrated the “high” holidays, but it was as though God wasn’t a part of my upbringing at all. I spent the decade of my thirties searching because I felt a huge hole that I tried to fill with drugs, men and other things that (I only know now) was part of my manic bipolar experience.

        It’s been only within the last eight years that I’ve embraced Christianity – not so much the religion but the Man himself. Because I follow Jesus and not man-made religious rules and doctrine, I have found an incredible peace that I have never had before. My entire perspective has changed.

        If you’re at all interested, I have two books I’d recommend. One is Simply Christian, by N.T. Wright. The other is One Way Love by Tullian Tchividjian. They both tell the honest and loving truth of what it means to be a beloved daughter of God. If you get through those, they may pique your interest in reading the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Reading about Jesus is different than reading his words.

        The struggle doesn’t end – but having Someone to walk with you in those struggles certainly makes it less lonely, less scary, and certainly less intimidating.

        Plus the meds! 😉

      2. Wow, Susan, we do have more in common than I realized! 🙂 I am SO happy that you found the unique kind of peace you so enticingly describe. I wish that could be bottled up and sold along with the meds… (Just kidding!) I’m a wackadoodle.

        My psychiatrist suggested that I start with reading a book called “The Message” – I wonder if you’ve heard of it? I’ll download samples of the books you mentioned on my Kindle – I like the title “One Way Love” in particular! I’ll let you know what I think when I check them out! :)))

  6. I found the candour refreshing, and the picture amusing. A lot of people think I’m all serene but there’s a lot going on underneath the surface. I don’t have bipolar but I do have other challenging mental health conditions and can relate to the stigma xx

    1. Dear Rose, thank you so much for your kind words. I wish you strength in dealing with your mental health conditions.

      I love your Gravatar & your blog’s name “roseversusblackdog”! 🙂

      Good for you for helping others in discussing lesser-known conditions such as dermatillomania, (skin picking) as one of my closest friends lives with that condition as well as with bipolar disorder. You are doing something very worthwhile by blogging and providing resources.

      take care, and I send you my very best! 😉 Dyane

      p.s. I hope you get the personal training business going again when the time it right – I used to be a certified personal trainer. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Glenn – I’m glad you got a kick out of the picture. I’m tempted to print it out and put it up by my bathroom mirror for a daily affirmation! 😉

  7. Wow!!!!! Let it out. I’ve been dealing with Bipolar Disorder for 30+ years. She can be a bitch. Tanks for stopping by my site. I hope you found something interesting to read. I’m following you. 🙂

    1. HI there Looking for the Light! Thanks so much for the follow and for your comment. I found you over at the awesome Amy Gamble’s blog! 🙂 I read your bio. at your blog & found it to be incredible – you’ve been through so much (to say the very least!) and yet you are writing and helping others to feel less alone with their struggles. I’m glad you have a wonderful supporter in your husband, pdoc & God. I wish you the very best and take good care!

      1. Thank you for making way over to my blog. Amy is a great example of a survivor. I read your bio last night unfortunately I forget what I read late at night. I’ll have to stop by when not so sleepy. I’ve been through rough times in my life however I find so many who have similar stories. I’ve moved past most of my pain and it feels so much better to help. I’m sure we’ll talk again. Have a great day. 🙂

  8. Hey Dyane,

    Boy, do I understand about this subject. I’m not a rager either, I’m not consumer about it, but I am in touch with this subject

    I read a book written by the Dalai Lama and he said he has anger. The Dalai Lama! So think about that and realize peace is a goal, but anger is natural and everyone, including the peace icon, has it. What does he do to release and forgive? He says he meditates and prays for four hours a day.
    Who has four hours a day?
    There is a lesson in there somewhere for everyone I think. For one, I take away that we all have it, it’s natural. And two, that we need to work towards relasing it and forgiving so we can be peaceful. It’s not about them, it’s about us.
    I too had feelings of anger when my sister never visited me. I was in 3 different hospitals for a total of over 3 and 1/2 months over a period of a year and 1/2. So there was plenty of time. I was suicidal.
    Now, everyone has their reasons, none of which make sense to us. And none of which we agree with. Most people have this image of psych wards as a place that will scar them. They are being selfish.
    I agree with the above guy that there are only a few cherished friends. (And you can forget about coworkers. I’ve found they are more like “friends” at work. When the clock runs out, they fire up their engines and head for home. Forget about the occasions you may have together. People scatter when it involves anything emotional, heaven forbid~!)
    But there are two friends I have that would do anything for me and they were in 2 different states. Everyone else here I had low expectations from.
    I would be pissed too if my husband and kids didn’t come.
    Did you ever ask him why? Ever bring him to therapy? IT’s a safe arena which is why I’m asking. The answer may be that he was “shielding” himself and kids from your illness. Or, that he was angry you went off your meds. The truth is, it landed you in the hospital. Nora has gone off her meds and it made me FURIOUS because I had to pick up her pieces. It was hard to be sympathetic b/c she knows right from wrong. In fact if I went off them, I wonder if my family would come visit me. It’s a really touchy subject.
    I’ve been battling the beast for 20 years, so I know not to do that. I’m under no illusion to try. I wish I didn’t have to gulp a zillion pills a day, but i’m over it. It’s easier than suffering needlessly. Nora has only been diagnosed under 10 years now.It sounds like on the big map you’re under that too, so I can understand your outlook. Mine was much the same them.

    Do I still get angry when I think of my sister not visitng me? Hell yes. But does it do me any good? Hell no, I only get angrier. So I chalk it up to her ignorance and self-centerdness and think of something else. The truth is, and this is the bottom line: it often has nothing to do with us; simply, people handle mental illness differently. And coming to see us in the hospital is as close as it gets to admitting we have one and seeing us at our worse. It ‘s often the worst reality check there is. And who wants that? Esp. if they’re angry at us. Esp if they can’t handle our diagnosis. Again, it doesn’t feel good on our end, but I’ve learned to look at it from their perspective to keep from staying in anger. I can step in it, but I can live in it. That keeps me from being the best wendy I can. You know? And there’s no one like my sister, my only sister, who can put me there with one thought. She won’t let me baby sit her kids. (Despite not being in the hospital since 2006.) I have been sober for 10 years. Nope. I can’t babysit or drive or do anything alone with them. I have no record and the only calamaity ever has been mania which is in check pretty much now, or depression which I haven’t attempted suicide since 2004. So it drives me batty and i want to strangle her, yes. But I can’t. I have to smile at family functions and smile at my

    The other thing I realized, when I looked through pics of me and my nice and nephews is ‘wait, where is my pic with Parker at the hospital, when he was born?’ and then it dawned on me. I was in the hospital! I lost 2 years really to constant suicide, etc.

    Now, you can’t make this argument for everyone that snubbed you, but I bet there are some people who had their own stuff going on. Even if you didn’t know it. Look how long it took me (one decade!) to realize my sister was busy being pregnant and having her 2nd baby! (Though of course I’m still going to say she wasn’t in labor the whole time! I still give her more of an out, and less of a snub, than before.)
    The truth is, and I’ll wrap up my rant, is that we get our feelings hurt a LOT. I know I do. And that is usually what’s behind my anger. I can be a very angry person. Nora, when she is yelling, is usually crying inside.
    And what the fuck is wrong with cursing anyway? As long as the kids aren’t around? Why the fuck not? lol
    By the way, you read my first book. Hardly devoid of curse words. I did the mistake of re-reading Catcher in the Rye while writing parts of it. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. So everyone can fuck off if they don’t like it.

    A year for PTSD. Sounds about right, totally legit. A year is not that long ago.

    And yeah, don’t you love those names, gardens…show me a spec of dirt or a fake plant anyone. I too was in a hospital for 3 or was it 4 weeks after my 1st suicide attempt. It was horrible. I always thought it cruel that the puzzles had missing pieces (I wouldn’t even attempt) or that the cards missed some. There was zip zero to do. But you made me laugh, did you really expect anything at the hospital? Was this your first time? You don’t get crap the first time. You’re lucky if you get visitors. The first hospital stay you’re lucky if anyone shows up.

    Now, after your first, when they realize “oh, it’s not her FAULT, it’s the ILLNESS, etc. etc.” things may go a little differently. But don’t hold your breath. It just sucks. You may want to make friends with someone in like a DBSA group or NAMI group. Have a pact that if one of you goes in the hospital you’ll visit the other. But, still, they don’t let in any food. It’s realy a bummer.

    I even had a sponsor not call me back there. In fact she dumped me and didn’t have the balls to call me there and level with me. For whatever reason, when you go to the hospital, people forget about you and suddenly you’re someone else’s problem. There’s nothing remotely fun about being in. And I’ve got a long rap sheet. I have finally found my favorite hospital and one person who could smuggle chocolate in! They didn’t pat her down and we sat out of the range of cameras. (Note where they are BEFORE your visitor comes.) Just set up your one visitor before you go in.

    I hope somewhere in my rambings I made you feel a tad better or taught you something.

    Hang in there. More ice cream and walking your dog, I say. Hate the game (the illness) and not the players (those around you).

    xo wendy

    1. Dear Wendy,

      I feel so spoiled to have such detailed, helpful replies from you, not just here, but throughout my blog. Bless your heart & your aching fingers! 😉 To have the bestselling author of “I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar” *and* the bestselling co-author of “Two Bipolar Chicks Guide to Survival” take time to provide such insights is a treat. NO worries about any grammatical errors! Who cares? The advice is so golden, that’s what matters.

      I had no idea that the Dalai Lama has anger!!! That’s amazing that he meditates and prays four hours a day. I’ve read that just a fraction of that time spent doing the same things has been shown to affect the brain in positive ways. My psychiatrist and therapist both meditate and they swear by its usefulness. (There’s even a book specifically about meditation and prayer: “The Tao of Bipolar” – I bought it, but I haven’t read it yet due to laziness and procrastination. You probably know about that book already! 😉

      Both you and my awesome new friend Kitt O’Malley, a therapist/blogger, have commented in response to this anger post that that it’s “me, not them.”

      I KNOW. :0 Oh, I know. But I only “know” that from afar; rationally, so it doesn’t do me any good to know about it since I haven’t incorporated the concept into my core beliefs.

      I’m sure I was unclear when I posted about my hospitalization, but I didn’t have a problem with Craig and the kids in terms of their visits. They did visit me, to my relief, and Craig had a hell of a lot going on being thrust into the single parent/breadwinner role/acute crisis situation, so I totally understand why daily visits were out for them. It was everyone else I had (and have) the problem with.

      I REALLY related to what you wrote about your sister because I feel the EXACT way about a close relative. I’d write much more detail about it, but I’m going to hold off for now for reasons I’m sure you can understand – blogging about it could come back to haunt me at this point in time, as much as I’d like to “go off”. Anyhow, it really helped me to read what you wrote about your relationship with her! Thank you for being generous enough to share about what happened between the two of you. “I’m SO sorry that happened to you” sounds trite, but I *AM* totally sorry you had to deal with her not visiting you, and how she hasn’t felt comfortable letting you care for her kids, etc. I get it! Believe me, I get it.

      Love your bit about the cursing & reading “Catcher In The Rye” while you wrote “I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar”! You are so funny…that’s why I fell in love with your first book!!!!!!!

      Re: hospitals — last summer was my 7th time. Yep. And I’ve been in two separate hospitals, in middle class areas, yet both were hideous. Silver Hill they were not! 😉

      I founded the Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) in our county, and I heavily promoted it. I had 23 people show up to the first meeting along with a therapist I asked to help me co-lead the meeting pro bono! After that I led several support groups, but sadly we only lasted about 2 years because the DBSA chapter folded during one of my relapses – no one could keep it going.

      There’s a longtime NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) in our county but the only support group that I could attend as a consumer is one that doesn’t feel like it’s right fit for me. It’s a religion-based group, and I’m not of that particular religious persuasion.

      I will do as you advise and walk Lucy, enjoy the ice cream(I definitely will!) and I will try my best to “hate the game/illness, not the players/friends”.

      GREAT suggestions.

      FABULOUS comment!

      SENDING you ginormous hugs!!!!!

      xoxooxxooxox
      Dyane

      p.s. you definitely helped make me feel understood and you got to me crack up a few times while reading this comment of yours; by “crack up” I mean GIGGLE!!!

      p.p.s. Looking forward to book #3 – I think it’s #3, right?!

      1. As always, nice to hear back from you. I don’t read blogs. (I should be writing..) but again, I love yours. Anyhoo, glad my little comments helped. I think everyone on here has great feedback and suggestions and hope. We all have anger and it seems to go with the territory/diagnosis.

        I never know when I rant whether it will be received well or not. Glad I didn’t offend.
        Yup book #3 in the works. I’m actually working on a few but not sure which one will be finished first. Just like me to be scattered. haha.

        Hope all this feedback has helped. Anger is so normal to not have it would be abnormal.
        I’d love to check out the Tao of Bipolar. But for now, I’ll just keep meditating. My blog next week is actually on meditation for bphope.com It really is invaluable. Hope you’ll give it a try. I’ll email you a few to try… take care. keep blogging and getting it out. keep walking your doggie and eating ice cream! 🙂

      2. I am SOOOOOO honored you read this blog, Wendy – I really am! You’re right – I’m lucky to have great feedback from everyone. That’s super-cool.

        You didn’t rant, by the way! I’m excited about your next book/s, whatever they may be so keep your readers posted – your Twitter @bipolarwendy is a cool way to keep in touch about what writing projects you’re working on. I’m also glad you liked my glorious, well-deserved FIVE STAR REVIEW for “Two Bipolar Chicks Guide to Survival” – woo hoo!

        I took a break from reading the BP blogs – I used to read them religiously, but then I started blogging and I found myself using the time I spent on BP blogs to work on my own blog. (Does that make any sense?) But I’ll check out your meditation post; I’d definitely read anything you email me about it.

        I will most definitely keep walking Miss Lucy. I’ll most certainly continue to enjoy my latest favorite flavors of ice cream which includes our amazing, locally made Polar Bear Ice Cream. Their stuff is SUPERCALIFRAGILISTIC good. I especially love their “Dirty Paws” flavor which has chocolate and vanilla in it, but I’m not sure what else…I’ll have to find out their secret ingredients, because after seeing that classic movie “Soylent Green” it’s always good to know what’s in your food! 😉
        XOXO
        thanks again for keeping in touch! Give my best to Lady N!

  9. Dyane, I’m going to challenge your perspective and suggest that you rethink and reframe your experience. Doreen’s advice to “let go” is on point.

    By the time I had myself hospitalized in 2005 at the age of 41, I had already undergone years of therapy since I had been suicidal at 18. I had even gotten a masters in psychology and practiced psychotherapy with severely troubled adolescents. Those years in my own psychotherapy, helping others with extremely traumatic childhoods, and having my parents help me overcome a breakdown at 30 when I was single and living completely alone, enabled me to keep things in perspective.

    I loved my hospital. My husband and son visited me every day. I felt blessed, for I was the only patient whose child visited daily. Many never saw their spouses or children. My son insisted on eating dinner at the hospital. Visiting hours followed dinner and the leftovers remained in warming trays. Although I had already eaten dinner with my fellow patients, I would have a snack with my son so that he could enjoy the ritual of a family dinner. My husband and parents agreed to keep the focus on our nuclear family. It was a healing experience.

    When we focus on what we don’t or didn’t receive rather than the gifts we do or did receive, we hurt ourselves. Be thankful for the love and attention of your husband and your daughters. Perhaps it was for the best that you did not receive numerous visitors. I do not know. As individuals, our needs differ. Receiving visitors when hospitalized for any reason can be physically and emotionally taxing.

    Let go. Forgive. For yourself. I know not how, but prayer and understanding the perspective of others may be a start. Perhaps they thought it best. Perhaps their pain and worry would have compounded your breakdown. I do not know. But I do know that holding on to that anger hurts you, not them.

    1. My dear Kitt, I waited to reply to your comment as I wanted to give it 100% of my attention. The last couple days here have been extra-full of distractions.

      You know I adore you and I know you care about me too. Our friendship has been one of the biggest gifts I’ve received from blogging! Oh rats – a six-year-old beckons for something – I’ll be right back!

      See what I mean? The wants and needs never stop when it’s daylight ‘around here with these two cuties -and during the nighttime too! But I love them so I will help them as long as it’s not something they can do by themselves easily.

      Anyway, your hospital experience sounds like it was what I would have loved to have as far as receiving daily visits from my husband & children. I only saw Craig & the girls briefly two times during those three weeks. It was’t enough. But there’s nothing I can do about it now…and I’m not angry at them. (Thank God!!!)

      Yes, I’m still in the stubborn, dig-in-your-heels, destructive phase of how I’m framing last summer. I can’t seem to let go of my anger, as much as I try. Logically I know I should do it.

      I loved how you wrote “prayer…may be a start”. When I try to understand the perspective of others, the anger just intensifies, so I will start with prayer every day. If you could hold me in your thoughts I’d be most grateful.

      love & blessings to you & your family,
      Dyane

      1. I am so sorry. I had no idea you were only able to see Craig and your girls twice over three weeks. That is truly traumatic, and I by no means meant to diminish the pain that you experienced. Nor did I mean to rub your nose in it by contrasting your experience with one that was far from the norm.

        When I went to South Coast Regional Hospital in Laguna Beach, the hospital had a great well-deserved reputation. The hospital is now under new ownership, and it’s psychiatric program is not anything like the one it replaced. It is a shame.

        Psychiatric hospitalization is an opportunity for healing, for peer group support, for you are NOT alone in the hospital. That is why I think hospitals should design their programs around structured therapeutic group activities.

        I’m sure NAMI would strongly agree that involving the family in treatment is paramount. Although I benefitted from my treatment at South Coast, my husband was kept in the dark. My psychiatrist never returned any of his calls. I had no idea that my husband feared he may never see me outside a hospital setting again. He just wanted to know how I was doing, and no one would tell him. I had signed a release! My husband was the one traumatized. He didn’t tell me until much later because he didn’t want to exacerbate my illness by stressing me out. But, if he had, I would have had a serious discussion with my psychiatrist and insisted that he call my husband ASAP, perhaps even during our session.

        Dyane, I hope and pray you are able to overcome the trauma of your hospitalization. PTSD sucks!

      2. Hi dear Kitt, I hope you get notified of this comment that I’m writing a few days after your comment! You never have to apologize to me for anything, and you didn’t rub anything in my face! I didn’t expect you to be psychic about what happened with me at the hospital.

        I’m so glad that when you went to the South Coast Regional Hospital, that it had a good program. That’s a shame it’s no longer the case there with the new ownership. 😦

        I am so sorry that your husband went through a horrendous experience. That’s truly “crazy” that no one would tell him how you were faring, especially your psychiatrist of all people. (You know how I dislike using that word, but it’s fitting in this case!)

        Anyway, thank you for taking the time to write! I hope the trauma from last year fades with time. I’ll keep praying that it does and I know you want the best for me too!

        xoxoxoox
        Dyane

        p.s. your husband sounds incredibly thoughtful and loving – he’s a keeper! But I know you already are well-aware of that! 😉

    1. Hey there my java buddy, first of all, THANK YOU for writing while in transit, and on such a Big Day. I’m so, so excited for you and your beautiful poetess!

      I bet you would have visited me at the hospital; I can sense from reading so many of your blog posts that you are not one to say things like that glibly. You would have brought me good coffee, or at least chocolate-covered espresso beans had I asked you to do that.

      I appreciate your steady support & kindness. It’s lovely.

      Have fun and throw caution to the wind as much as possible. Beware the negatrons!
      I’m so looking forward to hearing how your week unfolds. 🙂
      (((hugs)))!!!!!
      Dyane

  10. “cussology”… great word. Oh, I understand the whole PTSD and anger thing. And I understand that now annoying phrase that you tell yourself: “let it go”! I suppose time heals but it helps to talk it through and even to know that it’s THEIR OWN messed up issues that kept them away. I used to be in that place before I had my break. My sister-in-law who is also bipolar was hospitalized before I understood what it was like. Although I was in another state at the time, I didn’t call or check up or offer words of comfort. If only. At least she knows now that I understand.

    1. Dear Doreen,

      I feel lucky to have you comment (well, I feel that way with everyone today, but I *know* with 3 young’uns you are BUSY so I feel extra lucky with you!) so thank you for taking the time to do so.

      I really value your perspective. I love your posts and learn from every single one.
      I am also glad that your sister-in-law now knows you understand what she went through since you have bipolar disorder as well. I am sure that she of all people would have true empathy regarding the whole situation.

      I need to realize that everyone is different in how they approach mentally ill loved ones or friends or acquaintances. A looooong time ago when I was 16, I voluntarily went by myself to visit my Dad at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, which is a fancy term for their mental health unit. He too had bipolar one, as you know.

      I thank God that I didn’t let mental illness stigma stop me from going because honestly I was scared to go. I had called him on the unit pay phone numerous times both there and at other hospitals, and many “lost souls” picked up the phone. The tones of their voices haunted me, and freaked me out to the point where I had second thoughts about making the drive and encountering them in person.

      My Dad didn’t have to ask me to see him – I simply knew in my heart I needed to visit my him as I wanted to bring him comfort in such a barren place. I was blessed enough to have a close relationship with him.

      What I learned from my own experience being ignored during my multiple hospitalizations is that I will teach my children to never treat people with mental illness the way I was treated while hospitalized. If we have a friend or acquaintance who is hospitalized, we will visit that person at the very least. Maybe (and I write this in all seriousness) we can bring Lucy the puppy because I believe in animal therapy with all my heart.

      Sorry to go on and on. What can I say – your comment really inspired me! When time/energy permits, please keep commenting, dear Doreen, & keep inspiring me in your special way, and maybe I’ll finally finish that book of mine! 😉

      sending you a big hug from across the miles,
      Dyane a.k.a. The “Cussologist” !
      xoxo

  11. Dyane, reading this made me realise how hard it must have been for you. having people live near you and not care is so much harder than living alone in this country with no family. as for the anger part, hun, we all get angry. bipolar is not just a genetic disease, it has stuff deep rooted in our lives. i know you and i know you will work on this and you sure are, as u wrote about it. PTSD can be hard. i have PTSD from sexual assault and controlling parents. i still have anger issues and that does not define u. it is just a part of u like everything else.
    wishing u all the best hun ! a great post indeed
    you wont lose followers, this was such a raw true piece, you should be getting some more there

    1. Dearest Z-Mama,

      Having you back from your break to comment on my posts is like enjoying a warm bath filled with drops of organic lavender essential oil! Ahhhhhhh.

      You hit the nail on the head about the difficulty of a relative’s proximity (within an hour’s drive to the hospital) & abandonment, i.e. how my closest relatives completely ignored me when I was there at the unit. It’s is a unique brand of pain that I can’t expect anyone to ever understand unless he or she has been there in the same position. I want to add that Craig and I were supportive to these relatives countless times in many ways, both physically and financially, over the decades. Their lack of their support just eats away at me.

      I will work on this issue – I will. I have to because it’s making me too bitter, it drains my joy and energy that I could be sharing with my little girls and with Craig…and with myself! (oh, and with Lucy puppy – I cannot leave that furry angel out!)

      I am —incredibly sorry— that you suffer with PTSD from sexual assault and overbearing parents. That’s another level of hell that I cannot begin to imagine.

      The last line of your comment totally made me feel awesome about my not losing followers and even gaining some! 😉 I am SUPERDUPER glad to connect with you via the ‘net, and I can feel your warmth, empathy and encouragement coming through my laptop.

      Thank you for being ZEPHYR!

      xoxoxoxooxoxoxoxxoxoxo
      p.s. Today while driving I saw a car that was called a “ZEPHYR” and I was all happy about it!

  12. I don’t see how you would lose some followers over this one, anger comes with the territory. And as far as the cussing, I was a Sailor 🙂 Seriously, it does come with it. Why do I have this disease? Why me? Why don’t other people understand? And then there is anger at myself, I have done some stupid things. I did use it as a bit of a time to prune down the ‘ole friends list. I hated that some of them disappointed me, but others surprised me. I use the term “friend” very seriously. Friends will do anything they can to help you out. Be there for you. Everyone else is just an acquaintance, just people that float around on the very edge of my life.

    1. Hey Sailor Rob!!!!

      Thank you for your kindness in what you wrote. I worried because some people who read this blog are conservative and/or religious and well…I just worry because I’m a worrywort! I don’t like to offend people with salty language whenever possible, but recently I blogged about how I was going to let the “real me” come out more in my writing. As long a the f-bomb isn’t every other word, I don’t see how I am committing a major sin.

      Apart from that, I am so glad you didn’t go running away upon reading the sailor-esque words, as I value you as a reader! 😉

      That’s good that you take the term “friend” seriously. It’s healthy. I want to emulate you. My Mom taught me about “fair weather friends” and that phrase always resonated with me. Now what I want to cultivate are “stormy weather friends” who will truly be there for me not just because of convenience or serendipity, but because they care and they’re authentic human beings. Obviously friends cannot always be at the ready for one’s every need, but I think my example of the lengthy hospitalization speaks for itself.

      I’m glad that some of your friends surprised you! That’s super-refreshing to read.

      Thanks again for taking a moment to comment, and to comment so thoughtfully at that. I hope you have a *great* Monday! 🙂

      take good care,
      Dyane

    2. Oh hun I missed your blog when i was on a break. It is a great thing that you said you will work on it. you r one of the amazing warm people i know and i am so lucky to have you as a friend. Oh, a car named zephyr, should get me that one ! hope you are doing better and the days will be happier filled with sunshine ❤

      1. Sweet Zeph, you were really wise to take that internet break & enjoy such a great-sounding trip – and I know I’ll be taking a break of my own sooner rather than later. You are a soul sister through and through. I treasure you even though we’ve never met face to face – the blog universe never ceases to amaze me!

        I feel the same way about a couple other precious bloggers….Kitt & Becca & N. Eleanore to name a few. I wish you gals all lived in my neighborhood!!!! But then we might start taking each other for granted, ha ha ha! Or driving each other bonkers? Who knows. What I *DO* know is that you are special, I know things are hard right now and I’ll have you in my prayers.

        Love you!

  13. Dyane, I empathize with this, because a year after my hospitalization, all the people I worked with for a bloody DECADE have forgotten me! They were the ONLY people I had in my life apart from my family and they have rejected me! So, I honestly understand this anger you are experiencing.
    But will you ever overcome it? I don’t know…because I haven’t overcome it myself yet!
    Let’s challenge each other in trying to put this anger where it belongs…in the past! Because anger has the tendency to block out all other emotions!

    1. HI my *friend*!!!! 😉

      Thank you, thank you for taking time to comment with empathy yet again!!!! I worried I’d get some passive/aggressive responses to this post (and I need to brace myself for it) but your reply is the perfect one for me. You “get it” on a soul level and I agree with you about anger flattening other emotions.

      For the record, I’m SO sorry your longtime coworkers bailed out on you – that sucks beyond belief.

      A year is NOT that long to deal well with what I consider to be my PTSD-induced anger. I accept your challenge because it’s the only way to move forward, but I think it’s going to take more time, therapy and more (relative) stability under my belt until I can truly make progress.

      Sending you my love, N.E.S.! Bless your heart for your understanding!

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