25 September 2009

We learned about this in a class I took in college a couple years ago.
I did some Google-searching, and I wanted to remember it, so it's going here.

Here's the Wikipedia article on the "Twilight sleep":
Twilight sleep article

The drug was scopolomin (and morphine, at least according to Wikipedia), and it was used as an anesthetic in the early 1900s for women in childbirth.

This is the New York Times article (1914) about the controversy surrounding "twilight sleep":
Deny Insanity Is Due To 'Twilight Sleep'

It made women forget the pain, on the theory that if they don't remember, it didn't happen. But they were awake and aware when it was happening, or presumably in a "twilight sleep"; but they were still able to push, and all that.
It also made them crazy.

I will leave you with this, in case you don't feel like reading the articles:
"The next thing I knew I was awake [...] and then I thought to myself "I wonder how long before I shall begin to have the baby," and while I was still wondering a nurse came in with a pillow, and on the pillow was a baby, and they said I had had it—perhaps I had—but I certainly can never prove it in a courtroom." ("TWILIGHT SLEEP; Is Subject of a New Investigation". The New York Times. 1915-01-31. Retrieved 2008-08-05.)

Bad Day

Today has been a bad day.
Getting home and seeing my cat (I have a cat) and talking to my roommate helped dispel it somewhat; just enough that I can no longer so readily find the words to describe it. But I'm going to try.

The world feels unreal.
I walk through the world and nothing can touch me.
Nothing can touch me.
I am a ghost.
I'm surrounded by ghosts.
I walk, I breathe, I talk, I even smile, but I am just a dead body, walking around and talking.
Nothing is real.
I am breaking down.

Last night, for the first time in years, I had suicidal thoughts. Last night, twice, I wanted it to all end, right now, just end. I couldn't think of anything that would be fast enough for me. The fastest thing I could think of was getting a kitchen knife and opening my veins, but I couldn't think that far. Specifically, I couldn't imagine the critical part where I am holding the knife and the knife is slicing my flesh. And if I can't imagine it, I don't think I can do it.

Anyway. I have a cat. Her name is Tokyo, and she's adorable. I love her dearly. More info and maybe even pictures of her later ...

17 September 2009

And now for something completely different ...

... that is, if I can manage it.
Let's talk about something other than my health, mental or otherwise, or lack thereof, I said to myself. But then, as I was waiting for everything to load (because my computer's reeeeeeally slow), I thought, what else can I talk about?
I have no real interest in talking about my job, or my pitiful attempts to find a different job, although I would be happy to talk about why my attempts have been pitiful, which verges on health or mental health, or lack thereof.
I have no interest in discussing in detail my romantic life (except when I'm manic), and while I could talk about how it's generally doing, an adequate coverage of that would require me to talk about my mental health, or lack thereof.
I could talk about my writing (and how I haven't done any yet today, which is because of physical health--see below), but I don't like to talk about it in detail before I make you read it, anyway. Or I could possibly talk about my other creative pursuits, which have mostly dried up lately--I don't know why.
I will mention the fact that yesterday I tripped on absolutely nothing (damn, there I go again, mentioning something that I believe points to mental health or lack thereof, although my friend Holly said it could be spiritually-based) and faceplanted (or palm planted?) in loose gravel, asphalt, dirt, some weeds. My right palm is ... well, not quite hamburger, but it's tore up a bit, and my left middle finger has a strip of skin missing from the cuticle to nearly my first knuckle. Today I poured hydrogen peroxide over the wounds to get the dirt out, and damn it works. It stings, but not nearly as bad as the epsom salts-goldenseal-hot water combination did yesterday (at least some of that was the hot water, as it wasn't nearly as bad--but still godawful--once the water cooled down). (Oh, also, I took some analgesics (painkillers, acetaminophen, to be precise), hoping that would help with the pain, which it didn't really, but I felt two waves of the pain-numbing that anagelsics always give me--it's kind of like being high.)
So, this morning, instead of going about my morning things, like I did yesterday like a good girl, I sat down in front of my computer and immediately turned on the internet to look up how to get rid of the dirt. So it's nearly 4pm, and this is the only writing I've done all day, plus I'm still in my pajamas. But that's more--damn. That's more the depression ... which is definitely about mental health, or lack thereof.
Anyway, the wounds are, as far as I can tell, dirt-and-foreign-objects-free, but still infected. It's difficult. The little wounds are so little, it's hard to properly get all the infection out, and the bigger one is still raw, and I'm worried about doing too much to it.

So, something not at all related to health is: I am currently listening to Cake Bake Betty, who is delightful (thanks again to Jim to introducing me to her, along with Amanda Palmer/Dresden Dolls, who have changed my life ... but in a mental health sort of way). I'm currently listening to The Charge (Knocturnul) kind of over and over, because it's amazing. At some point, I may change it so it's shuffling, but for now I love the part where she says, "Oh Lord, is, Oh Lord, is this my ship coming in? I'm not ready, I'm not ready for this" too much to want to listen to something else. It's amazing.

Also, back to mental health, I've been feeling really compelled (OCD) to organize. I want to change all the tags in my blog. I've got way too many, it's seriously unwieldy, and, really, how often do I talk about, say, Hallowe'en? Once a year? Packing and unpacking? Only when I move, I imagine. And do I really need both of those, and also moving? Likewise, do I really need both tiredness and exhaustion? Etc. So, I've been thinking about getting rid of some of these things, and combining other things, like say, collapsing addiction, brain, codependency, depression, forgetfulness, manic, manic-depression, mind, suicide, and possibly emotion and feeling into mental health.
Ooh, and I kinda want a web-cam/microphone, so I can do a spoken blog sometimes. (Completely random desire, probably will never be fulfilled, at least not until I get a better computer, and prompted only by Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog and Felicia Day's The Guild, and the way it sounded when I read the last bit aloud.)

Anyway, I really should go, so I can eat, write, finish reading and critiquing the chapter for my writing group tonight, and maybe even shower before writing group. The organizing project is probably not going to happen tonight.
Love you all.

P.S. I might actually talk about the things I merely mentioned earlier in this post, but not right now.

P.P.S. I did completely mean to talk about Holly's spiritually-based theory for why I tripped on absolutely nothing, so I'll do that before I go: I've been chanting a Kali mantra (twice a day for forty days). Kali is the Destroyer of Negative Ego, and this mantra is the Spiritual Evolution Mantra that is Quick, Powerful and Unyielding. Kali comes in with razor-sharp precision to cut away anything impeding your Spiritual Evolution, and Holly's suggestion was that She's rearranging my brain. And so I am applying that to everything that's been really bothering me within the last couple weeks, starting with my memory loss and my inability to find the words I want to my inability to think and my tripping over absolutely nothing. Holly suggested a Lakshmi mantra after the Kali cycle, to ask to be filled with the things I do need.

08 September 2009

A Further Note on Lithium Use and Hypothyroidism

Guyol, Gracelyn (2006). Healing depression & bipolar disorder without drugs: inspiring stories of restoring mental health through natural remedies.

"Finally diagnosed as bipolar, Nicole was already thirty pounds overweight before lithium therapy added close to fifty pounds in two months. 'You're not supposed to take lithium if you have thyroid problems, which I do . . . "

This is one of the inspiring stories of restoring mental health through natural remedies, so I thought I'd do some research.
I read this article (Lithium Risks: Thyroid, Kidney, and Weight Gain Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved September 9, 2009, from, and skimmed through others, and it seems that lithium can cause hypothyroidism; what the risks are for taking it if you already are hypothyroid are so far unclear, however, suffice it to say that I don't think I'll be taking any more supplements (except multivitamin types) until I can get a diagnosis.


The other day, a new friend of mine from a new site that I've started frequenting (it's a "social network" like Facebook, but it's called A Place for the Mentally Interesting, and it's basically a place to talk about mental health issues) called my blog "aces" and said I was a good writer, which made me really happy.

But it got me to thinking about the way "crazy people" aren't given much credibility; I haven't yet had to deal with this, but I also haven't been diagnosed by an actual doctor. And I haven't been on any meds. (EA says something about "the outrageous discrimination towards anyone who has ever taken Zoloft" here.)

Blah. I don't know. I had a huge a idea about a post a few days ago, when I got the comment about my blog being aces, but I also think I'm sliding into depression, slowly but surely. I'm definitely less motivated, and this awesome idea I had a few days ago seems kinda impossible, and also not really worth it, like who would ever want to read what I have to say?

So, to remind myself, my blog is aces, and I'm a good writer. Please remember that, Rowan, darling.


05 September 2009


So, my planner arrived. It's pretty great. This is apparently the first year of them publishing this thing, though, and there are typos and other annoyances. Whatever. I kinda wish there was a little more room, so I could more easily write in all the food I eat. I can do that, but then there's not enough room to use it as a planner.

Anyway, either I'm just not getting manic as often during the day the past couple of days, or I am currently switching back and forth between euphoria/mania and euthymia. (According to this Wikipedia article, "Euthymia is a word used for indicating a normal, non-depressed, reasonably positive mood. It is distinguished from euphoria, which refers to an extreme of happiness, and dysthymia, which refers to a depressed mood. It is a term used frequently in mental status exams. The term is also sometimes used referring to the neutral mood (absence of a depressive or manic cycle) that some people with bipolar disorder experience with varying frequency.")
It would be great to have euthymia show up occasionally, so I'm basically okay with the lulls of not-manic.

Anyway, in other news, I have to work later tonight, but I am not working, like, at all, next week. (Six hours.) So I'm spending some time next week looking for a new job.
Actually, I'm kinda worried about that. My life, in regards to money/jobs, sucks. I work very little, usually, leaving me with vast gaping holes of free time in which I never do enough (either because I'm depressed, and can't, or because I'm manic, and I can't do as much as I think I should be able to/I spend all my time doing nothing useful) ... for example, I don't write nearly as often as I should. Also, I make very little money, which leaves me in debt, constantly stressed, and eating crap food, because it's cheaper.
But. Because of this lifestyle, I can afford to spend all day sleeping/laying in bed staring at the ceiling, when I'm depressed. I can afford to stay up until 4am doing absolutely nothing on the computer when I'm manic. I wouldn't be able to do that if I had a decent 40-hr/week job that actually paid me something.
Blah. I don't know. We'll see, I guess, as always.


02 September 2009

Today I got to endure a social nicety I hadn't really been exposed to before: Public Groping in Broad Daylight By a Complete Stranger While I Wait For the Train.
You see, all my previous encounters with groping had happened in the dark, or by someone I knew.

I'm being sarcastic right now because I can be. This was several hours ago (on my way to a yoga class held right before my choir practice), and I was seriously angry after I got on the train and after I got off the train, but walking to the UU church, I had to try really hard to remain angry, because whenever the anger receded a bit, I started crying. I cried through a good half-hour of the yoga class.

Basically (because I'm not interested in going into too much detail), this guy sat down next to me while waiting for the train, and despite my iPod and book, he tried three times to pretend he was asking me where I got my shirt, while gesturing, and got in one good feel (and one "less-good" one, which I misinterpreted as clumsiness or accidental or whatever). He tried once more after that, by telling me the train was coming, and pointing to the train, but by that time I was expecting it, and knocked his hand away.
He also tried to feint going onto the train a different way than me (I went through the bike entrance, and he had a bike, so of course he couldn't go through anywhere else), but I was watching and sat at the front when he did get on the train.

One of my friends suggested that I buy mace, which I will do as soon as ever I am able.

Not to make this a man-hating entry, or even an "exposing all the horrible things men do" entry (because I recognize that my experiences pale beside some women), but I've been wanting to buy mace ever since this guy followed me for at least an hour from the Farmer's Market to the library through the stacks and then back onto the train. Fortunately, he didn't follow me past the train, but I was worried about it. This was a few years ago.

Unfortunately, I do not have the energy currently to make this entry less awful, so we'll end here. I'll just say that there are, fortunately or unfortunately, some wonderful men in my life right now that make me not want to castrate the entire gender.

01 September 2009

Kelp, again.

First of all, happy September, everyone! What a great month! We get the Fall Equinox this month, which is always fun. I'm quite fond of the Equinoxes.

Anyway, I was thinking about the kelp, and the lithium, and all that--plus, I got four books out of the library yesterday that talk about bipolar/manic-depressive illness/disorder. I will list them here now, and then as I read them, report how useful they are:
Guyol, Gracelyn (2006). Healing depression & bipolar disorder without drugs: inspiring stories of restoring mental health through natural remedies.
Castle, Lana R. (2006). Finding your bipolar muse: how to master depressive droughts and manic floods and access your creative power.
Corrington, Robert S. (2003). Riding the windhorse:manic-depressive disorder and the quest for wholeness.
Jamison, Kay Redfield (1993). Touched with fire: manic-depressive illness and the artistic temperament.

So, I started with Guyol's Healing Depression (and I have heard this same thing in other places), and she describes her mother's experience with lithium (and why she refused to take lithium, when diagnosed as bipolar): "Lithium made her look puffy, like the Pillsbury Doughboy, and she complained of 'cotton mouth,' lost her quick chuckle in a flattening of emotions, and developed Parkinson's disease, which ultimately killed her."
I started taking Kelp on Tuesday, 8/18/09; my friends who recommended it (because straight Iodine made me crazy, and Kelp might be a gentler form of Iodine for my thyroid) said they noticed a difference about six days after taking it. Six days after that Tuesday was Sunday, 8/23/09. I was transitioning into manic that day and the next. Sunday night was the first really obviously manic period. I was laughing a lot, and talking loudly, and I felt like everyone was staring at me, and my friend said afterward that I didn't pause when I was speaking. I felt like I was controlling the conversation, like I was steering it. It wasn't until Monday when I was hostile and aggressive that I thought I might have hit manic.
Monday was when I got ill, and ever since then, I have woken up every morning with an exceedingly dry mouth that doesn't ever quite go away, no matter much water I drink. I've also been feeling blunted. I remember the first couple days of my manic phase, and this is nothing like it was. I can get into that social place, where I'm laughing a lot and talking a lot, and all of that, but I don't feel like I have to. I guess that's a good thing, only I don't feel wholly real anymore.
(Slight side note: what with the hypothyroidism, the manic-depression, and other shit, I really feel like I have no clue who the hell I am. This kind of worries me. Another side note, on the topic of being worried: I've been experiencing serious "poor memory recall". It worries me.)
Anyway, I've been thinking about stopping the Kelp. I want to just stop it long enough to see if the regular manic comes back, to see if I feel real again when it does. I just want to stop it long enough to test my theory. I don't know what I'll do then. Well, clearly, if my theory is not correct, and it doesn't change my emotions, but does change thyroid-brain-things for the worse, then I'll start taking it again. If things change for the better, then I might keep the Kelp until I hit depression again, and start taking it again, just to see what kind of effect it has on the depression.

Thanks to everyone who is paying attention to my adventures. I love you.