My Furry Mood Stabilizer

I’m stoked! Hello everyone! Today Crazy Good Parent is sharing my post in honor of “National Walk Your Dog Week”! (yes…who knew? 😉 Enjoy!

http://crazygoodparent.com/2014/10/02/my-furry-mood-stabilizer/

Crazy Good Parent

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October 1-7 is National Walk Your Dog Week, founded by pet lifestyle expert and animal behaviorist, Colleen Paige.

As I write this post, I’m unsure which puppy pictured above will join our home tonight.  We don’t care which furry, little creature we shall be graced with -we’ve spent time with them and they are both amazing, wriggling fluffs of joy.

Our family is totally freaking out about our new addition…in the BEST way possible!

And now more than ever, I believe in “furry mood stabilizers”.  Please allow me to explain:

In my late twenties, a decade before I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar I disorder, I suffered the demise of a relationship that sent me reeling into my first full-blown clinical depression.  A Paltrow/Martin-like conscious uncoupling it was not!  My boyfriend betrayed me with a born-again Christian.  (I didn’t think either of them acted in a very Christian-like manner, to tell you…

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6 thoughts on “My Furry Mood Stabilizer

  1. Damned fine writing, Dyane.

    My Furry Mood Stabilizer

    You and me both.

    When got Willow and Clover in 2009 I was more suicidal than I’d been in my life and the rabbits were pretty much my last desperate attempt to hang on. The main misgiving I had was that I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to make it and hated the thought of leaving them high and dry, but I also knew that thought was probably the best reason I was going to find for not killing myself.

    I didn’t think either of them acted in a very Christian-like manner, to tell you the truth.

    What could be more Christian than sexual hypocrisy?

    To be fair, he literally wasn’t in his right mind when that all went down. This man, who I had been faithful to for almost five years, turned out to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

    I don’t think any of us should get free kicks just because we’re mentally ill. I’ve sure had my episodes of – ahem – ‘sexual incontinence’ when hypomanic but I don’t feel I’ve ever cheated on a partner despite numerous temptations (though, to my shame, I’ve encouraged others to cheat on theirs).

    Yeah, a lot of impulse control and other coping measures go out the window when you’re manic but you can develop other mechanisms to help keep yourself in check when the sparks start shooting out your ears. And the fact is that though your perceptions, ideas and judgement are pretty messed up you have to have seriously lost it before you lose your ability to make choices. I don’t know that I’ve ever been that crazy – even when the decisions I’m making are informed by wild delusions and turn out to be Very Bad Ones.

    I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how important it is to make yourself aware when you’re becoming depressed, hypomanic, manic or psychotic and to avoid making important or irreversible decisions while you are. Not being a parent makes it easier for me but I’ve known for a long time I was crazy and the decision to have a vasectomy aged 22 was another strategy I implemented to avoid getting into a situation I knew I couldn’t deal with.

    Everyone has impulse control problems sometimes – especially when sex is involved. You don’t need a DSM diagnosis to make a stupid decision and I sure don’t think any of the labels that have been hung off me excuse my instances of lousy behaviour.

    1. I’m sorry it has taken me ages to reply. Better late than never, right? At least with blog replies, and not, say, with heart bypass surgery, ha ha!

      I must tell you that when I saw your first line in your comment (“Damned fine writing, Dyane.”) my spirit lifted! I was so jolly! I know you’re not one to bestow praise on just anyone for the hell of it. I respect your writing talent tremendously, and it just felt awesome to get a compliment such as that one.

      Please thank Willow and Clover profusely for me for helping you make it through the dark times of 2009! (cute names…hope they are thriving!)

      “What could be more Christian than sexual hypocrisy” is brilliant. And true. Brill-ue?

      Everything else you wrote made spot-on sense. ‘Twas wise of you to get the vasectomy to avoid pure heartache for not just you but for potentially a child (or a few) and its/their mother/s.

      Re: mental illness – what I find scary now is that if the authors of the DSM had their way, almost every single thing we humans do would have a classification. While I completely believe in bona fide mental illnesses & meds, there are some new mental illnesses that seem a little contrived. Of course I can’t remember what the nouveau illnesses are right now as I’m a zombie today due to poor sleep over the past, well, ten years, but that’s another subject.

      I’ve been stable for over a year now, and so I haven’t been tempted to become one with a tree trunk or go spend $1000 on perfumes. Craig knows exactly how I start to act when I become hypomanic, the poor guy. I have a very strong tendency to go the other way, however – depression is a much bigger part of me, if that makes any sense. The last time I went from hypo in full-blown mania was when I went off lithium. That won’t be happening again anytime soon, I hope. Fingers and toes and eyes crossed.

      thanks for reading, and for your always-intriguing comments!!!!!!!! hope this finds you well!

      1. I’m honestly a bit mystified as to why people say my writing is good.
        I have one or two things I do well but they’re more suited to journalistic forms like polemic or essay than story or poem. I don’t think I do atmospheric narrative half as well as you did in this post.

        I think DSM-V may have pushed it as far as it can go. There’s already a backlash among the stalwarts of psychiatry (i.e. not just the usual dissidents) who feel its pathologisation of life and diagnostic overreach is bringing their profession into disrepute. I think we’ll start to see the malicious influence drug companies recede soon too. Most psychiatric blockbusters are nearing the end of their patent life and there’s very few new ones in the pipeline so the profits driving all the marketing at prescribers will soon dry up.

        Regarding the existence of mental illness we’ll probably have to agree to disagree. I just don’t think the symptom clusters used to define mental illnesses really point to discrete disorders with specific aetiologies and treatments. It’s like if you went into your doctor with flu like symptoms and, with no tests beyond your description of how you feel, immediately declared it was flu and began treating you with heavy duty anti-virals. Except doctors don’t flog the ideology that when you get flu you’ll have it for the rest of your life. I think the patchiness of the performance of psychiatric drugs shows – at the very least – that most are prescribed for something they don’t treat. And look at their side-effects. If the researchers knew what they were doing I just don’t believe that after all these years and all the money spent we wouldn’t have objective diagnostics and better treatments.

        I’m also fairly confident that a lot of the people who think they’re mentally ill got over their real problem a long time ago and now suffer from side-effects and/or withdrawal symptoms from what’s meant to be treating them. As William Burroughs said “No matter what ails ya, heroin will make you feel better”. That doesn’t mean your brain is suffering from a deficiency of heroin though – unless prolonged use has knocked out its capacity to manufacture its own endorphins.

    1. Oh yes! And if there are dog pdocs, she might need one living in this family! 😉 Thank you for noting her beauty – ’tis true – as well as her fearsomeness. I call her “Cujo” during her aggressive moments!

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