Shithouse rat

I'm a bipolar writer in the Naked City. I'm not playing with a full deck. I don't have all my dots on the dice. My cheese is sliding off my cracker. I don't have both oars in the water. I'm a bubble off plum. In other words, I'm crazier than a shithouse rat. These are my stories. Comments--short or long, nasty or nice--always welcome!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The slippery slope

Waiting for Indiana Jones
Originally uploaded by Pandiyan.
I've been feeling pretty down lately, and one of the side effects is becoming evident here--namely, no new posts.

When I started blogging, I was hypomanic. The words and thoughts came easily to me, though I was never a once-a-day poster by any means. In fact, I loved the writing and the blogging so much that the internet pretty much took over my life--or rather, I let it take over.

Now it's been close to a year since I started my blog, and things have taken a turn for the worse. Aside from the problems getting my coop ready for market due in part to the fact that my ex boyfriend is just not doing his bit to get this accomplished, and the fact that my own inertia is making it harder for me to continue babying him, it honestly seems like getting a place I can call my own is some far off nearly impossible dream. Many people online and off that I've told about my plans can't understand what could possibly take so long, but if you saw the situation up close and the person I'm dealing with you might see why (or maybe not).

In addition, my immersion in the internet and my neglect of "real life" has had serious repercussions, and I now feel backed into a corner of my own making. I can feel the hopelessness starting to seep into my consciousness and unconsciousness. I've had disturbing dreams ever since I started on certain meds long ago, but now it's harder to shake off the effects when I awake than ever.

There's some things going on that I don't feel comfortable going into detail about here, but they have contributed to a feeling of near-despair of late. I know what has to be done, but it will likely take a very long time and be very hard to accomplish. If I can get over some major hurdles, I feel like I can have the life I want for myself and BG, but the road will be a long and difficult one.

Those who don't have to take meds for a mental/emotional condition may not understand how insidious the side effects can be. Of course, psych meds don't have the monopoly on side effects, and I take a few meds for other reasons which may also be biting me in the ass. It's hard to tell for sure what's going on.

There is a book I read long ago called "Flowers for Algernon" which was later made into a movie called "Charly" starring Cliff Robertson and Claire Bloom. In it, a mentally retarded man is given an operation that increases his IQ gradually, til he reaches the point where he becomes a genius. Unfortunately, the operation's effects eventually wear off and he's doomed to go back to being mentally disabled again.

I watched a good portion of the movie but had to turn it off after awhile, before they reached the point where Charly's IQ began to diminish. I know there are a lot of hellish scenarios in life, but that has to be one of the most haunting. Though some may say it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, would it be better to be given the gift of intelligence and then stand by and see it inexorably slipping away again--or is it preferable to never have experienced this evolution/devolution in the first place?

The other reason I had to turn it off was that it hit a bit too close to home. I've experienced the roller coaster ride of bipolar disorder a number of times, and though it's not exactly the same situation, it definitely has its parallels, especially since my ability to think and reason clearly vanishes when the tidal wave hits. I literally "lose my mind" in the deluge.

Although my periods of major depression, when they hit, are still as severe as ever--if not worse--every time, perhaps due to my current meds my hypomanias have become more mild and manageable. Maybe this last one was just what you might otherwise describe as merely "being normal." There are some people who go through life with seemingly boundless energy and drive. When I'm in an "up" mode, writing becomes much more effortless, and my outlook much more positive and hopeful in general.

But time and again I've had "up" periods, only to encounter some stress or other triggering event and be in the awful dilemma of seeing myself descend into that slippery slope of depression again. I start to notice that things are becoming more difficult; that my brain is not working the way it should. I become more withdrawn and fearful. Then I reach the point where the depression hits full force and no meds and no doctor seem to be able to cure it.

Hopefully that won't happen this time. As one of BG's old docs said, depression tends to feed on itself. If you give into it and stop trying, the cycle can take hold that much more firmly. But I think if someone has clinical depression that involves your brain chemistry going out of whack, I'm not sure that anything can be done when the ground starts to give out beneath you and the sense of helplessness, hopelessness, self-recriminations and guilt start to settle in.

In any case, I've been hiding in front of this computer for a long time and now there's hell to pay. Truth be told, I do feel a bit better that I was able to write this post. But is kvetching online just another way to escape and procrastinate? Thing is, I know there are other bipolar blogpals out there who can really "get" what I'm saying through first hand experience. And I'm sure that even those who don't have this condition may be able to relate; after all, everyone goes through pain at some point--it's simply part of life.

Well, I'm grateful that I have a place where I can put my thoughts down, such as they are--though the demands of "real life" are calling to me even as I write this post. I suppose the fact that I'm still able to write is a hopeful sign.


At 12:38 AM, Blogger BiPolar Guy said...

Sorry you're feeling down. I can relate fully to what you're saying. My hypo/manias have also tapered completely off until I'm thinking they're just normality, whilst the depressions just get deeper and deeper. I'm told that is what happens with age.

But the depression is never permanent

At 6:15 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Bipolar guy:

Thanks so much for the comment--it's good to hear from someone who knows precisely whereof I speak. I've read about--and experienced--the "kindling effect" of depression, and it's not pretty. But looking back, I don't know that my first major depression/hospitalization was much "milder" than any subsequent ones, so hopefully it can't get much worse than the last one, where at least I wasn't suicidal.

I wonder if the hypomanias/manias get more mild with time due to the effects of the meds. I know this last time around, I had very little in the way of undesirable side effects from the hypomania, which is what made it seem mostly like just being high-functioning/ "normal" for the most part. Having that state of mind exist permanently would probably be pretty ideal.

What I'm hoping also is that I can endure this rough patch as just that--a "normal" rough patch which everyone encounters on occasion. I've experienced some setbacks, but hopefully I posess some free will to try to make life better, rather than ultimately being merely at the mercy of brain chemicals gone awry.

At 12:12 PM, Blogger dan said...

There's a wierd responsibility that sets in as soon as people read what you're doing.

As soon as we get depressed, and people start barking up the "when are you going to post again" deal, then you feel even more responsible and more like you've let people down.

Vicious cycle.

At 8:34 AM, Anonymous Andy said...

Would you consider VoIp-ing using Skype?

I'm yerotfeyev

At 11:48 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Well, in my case, I don't exactly have hordes of people clamoring for my additional pearls of wisdom and wit--lol. It's more of a letdown to myself, since I love to write, and finding it difficult to do is like being mentally constipated--ugh!

At 11:50 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


I'm a little too low-tech at this point for that. I don't even like IM (lol). Thanks for visiting--hope you'll stop by again.

At 1:05 PM, Blogger Mr. 12 Step said...

I too have felt the preassures of blogging and nearly took my blog off line. It happens when depressive states kick in.

Hope you get feeling better.

At 8:53 PM, Blogger jane said...

I know all too well what you're referring to. I think blogging has opened a new world, especially for those of us with Bipolar Disorder. We finally have a a sense of community with people who can relate with us. It's new & exciting.
But you're so right about it taking away from our 'real' world. And where to find the balance? I'm no good at that.
I'm really sorry you're having such a rough time right now. Being that I was in these shoes last week, I can tell you it too will pass. Just don't give up & please always remember that you aren't alone. I care a lot.

At 7:52 AM, Anonymous Andy said...

Understand about VoIP. But maybe later?

You might like to talk to these friends you are finding around the world.

As for blogging, I already wrote that if you still find it possible to write a bit, just wordprocess, then later you can create some public posts from what you have written to yourself.

Try to keep posting because you have people who are hoping to hear how you are.

Post a photograph if you can't write much.

And, hey, try out Pinky and the brain stem from my site....

At 8:16 AM, Blogger Reverend Z said...

Sorry things have been going rough for you, it's tough riding the storms out.

At 8:49 AM, Anonymous Andy said...

I forgot....

You many not be able to read this right now but think this is valuable:

At 9:00 AM, Blogger Walker said...

I don't know what effects the meds you take are but if they are anywhere near and I am assuming more potent the the ones I took for my anxiety attacks I feel for you 10 fold for what I went through with mine.
I have a friend right here staying with me who is denying that she is bi polar even though the doctors say she is.
She is normally a downer but now she is lower that low and ready to pop through to china.
They gave her some meds and now she is a total veg. Just laying around not wanting to do anything.
Flowers for Algernon was a great book and a movie.
The way I understood it in the end was not that charley lost all he gained when the operation when awry in the end but that he became what he was always meant to be, himself.
That's all we should strive for in life to be ourselves.
I know you for the strong woman that you are. This is just a setback.
I know you want the coop gone and some form of stability in your life
and I honestly think you will get there eventually and when you get there it will be a big "sigh" to your mental health and you could move on.

At 3:50 AM, Blogger digibrill said...

That was quite a descriptive post of what you endure. The part about fear of losing your intelligence is frightening. I can identify not feeling like a part of a group and not being respected. You rock, Elvira, don't let your fears conquer you.

At 8:27 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Mr. 12 step:

I don't think I'd ever give up the blogging completely. The worst case scenario if I felt myself slipping into severe depression would be a quick "I'll be back" note. It's good to know you can see where I'm coming from.

At 8:32 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


I wanted to thank you not only for your comment here but also for the support you've given me lo these many months--encouraging me to join your terrific bipolar planet webring; your inspiring e-mails; and your wonderful blog.

You are right--the mood I had has passed, knock wood, and I feel much more energized and hopeful. Glad you're feeling better too!

At 8:34 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thanks so much for your additional comments--I think posting a pic with a short entry if I feel stuck is an excellent idea.

I checked out the Pinky link--very cute AND informative! I've bookmarked the other link you provided and will peruse asap.

Thanks for the link BTW--I'm adding you to my blogroll as soon as I finish with the comments.

At 8:42 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

reverend z:

Thank you for the kind words. I think if anyone can relate to this, you can...hope you're feeling well too.

At 8:48 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


What a good friend you are to have your friend stay with you especially when she is in such dire straits. I know it must be very very tough.

I guess I should have watched the ending of Charly, but the first part of the movie especially when he was tormented by his "friends" and then got fired was getting to me. Good to know it didn't end in a completely tragic way.

I'm going back downtown Monday and give L a good butt kicking. Getting the coop thing settled is something I must do, and it's time I started attending to what I need instead of just worrying about L, which has kept me from pushing him even more. Then maybe I can finally stop kvetching about it here--lol. Thanks as always for your supportive comment.

At 8:52 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


I know you were having some probs with jerks at work, and I hope that's gotten better. Most of my recurring nightmares involve being back at my old jobsite and finding that I'm literally lost and non-functional. But I know you are a terrific, compassionate person and I believe in karma. I'm guilty of not keeping up with my blogpals lately so I'll stop by and see how you're doing these days.

At 1:23 AM, Blogger !ce said...

I have felt similarly. I wish I were in a more comforting frame of mind right now, but all I can really do is hate men. The medication will probably make you less suicidal and homocidal. Depending on your frame of mind, you may look at this as a side effect, as I currently am.

At 9:52 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Well, I'm not feeling suicidal or homocidal--just kind of bouncing back and forth between feeling more up and energetic and less so. Maybe my "mood stabilizer" isn't stabilizing as much nowadays--lol.

At 8:04 AM, Blogger !ce said...

It would probably be much more intenese without.


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