Saturday, December 18, 2010

"The Badger is Moving"

 Hi everyone, I am happy and excited to announce that I am moving my blog to it's own domain name effective now. is the new home to The Emperor Has No Toque, and I hope you all follow me there. While blogger has been very good to me, I feel that now that I have developed more readers it was time to get my own website. I have moved all my posts, comments and pics to the new site. I look forward to seeing you all there. If you were nice enough to add me to your blog roll, I would appreciate it if you updated to . Again thank you for all your support.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Words of Kindness From What Seems Like The AntiBadger"

  I am not know for my words of kindness and thanks, as I am usually seen as, somewhat polarizing and pretty dark. But I can not resist this post as it needs to be said. In a age where we have seem to have rotated back to the Me, Me,Me attitude of the 80s I am moved to emotions at the pure selfless kindness of others of late. You see, I am not always the nicest guy and I am capable of some pretty awful interpersonal issues. Yet despite my relationship dysfunctions people have been very kind to me and I am not sure why but I appreciate it and it makes me want to become a better man.

 I have had other people whos kindness has made me want to be a better man in my life one example is my late wife. I was a real train wreck when we met, worse than I am now, I know hard to imagine, but she saw some kindness and good and motivated me to be a better person.

 So now, after my season of devastating personal emotional collapse and relationship boundary destruction people have still reached out to me, and have supported me in my mental and physical battles. I have   had amazing words and acts of support which have moved me emotionally and deeply. I have had support from a friend who I had recently hurt badly by my actions who, put herself second to make sure I was ok after surgery. These are acts of true human kindness and caring in a manner which I cannot ignore.

 To Ignore these outreaches and acts would be a affront to the people who reached out, It would be a insult to them and their compassion if I did not take these gifts and work to become a better man. Now motived by these souls I will work on being a better friend, man and human. I may not always succeed but if I make a effort to change openly and honestly i will grow as a product. will my sometimes acidic personality go away, probably not and I hope I keep my edge, but I want it to be a better kinder edge.

 In this holiday season, when we are so focused on our own lives, families and struggles, I am see the opportunity for myself and others to reach out to people around us, maybe call a person who we cared about but hurt us or who we have hurt and work to mend some fences, even if the outcome is not a return to closeness that we once had, a repaired respect and friendship is an amazing gift from others. So I will take the gift of kindness that has been so freely given to me and move it forward outward, maybe just maybe I can help someone else like others helped me.

"One Block A Tale of Two Caregivers"

 This is a personal observation on the two separate levels of care within one institution of medicine. On Tuesday I entered Vancouver General Hospital for surgery on my spine, from the moment I began at the admitting desk friendly and supportive staff guided me to my pre-op care, where nurses prepared me, and doctors met with me and soon I was in the OR. All the time no one asked me with repeated questions or preconceived ideas of why I was there, or second guessing me. To them I was a man in pain with a medical condition that needed to be treated and they did so in a respectful manner. After I recovered I was taken to a modern hospital room which was clean, with TVs and a amazing nurse who showed real concern with my bladder and post op urination problems. She was always making sure I was comfortable and not in too much pain. I was treated by wonderful doctors who visited with me often and involved me in my own care with openness and candidness. I was treated with respect and dignity.

 In the early Fall I was severely depressed and made my way to Vancouver General Hospital emerg to seek care for pain, not physical mind you but pain all the same. I was shuffled off on a gurney down a side hallway where I was placed in different patient clothing than the folks there for physical treatment. I was questioned over and over again, telling my life story, my fears, and my experience with attempted suicide with a discounted no so caring manner. Treated to some degree like I was a hinderence to their emergency room duties. I was seen by two doctors who talked at me not to me, and I was shuffled off the the Pysch Unit.

 In the Psych unit  a block away from the modern, clean room I would eventually have my surgery, I was greeted by a old run down building, not so clean, old 70s beds, and dim lighting. The nurses stayed behind the counter treating most interactions with patients like it was a confrontation, or like we were pests. rarely reaching out to those of us in pain, again not physical but pain all the same.

 In most health care institutions, there is institutional stigma regarding mental illness. Rarely are MH patients treated with warmth, or mutual respect, but usually treated like opposing forces. Very few more facilities are newer, up to date or maintained as well as the physical health side of the coin. Mental Health care even though it serves a large and diverse population is usually the recipient of hand me down facilities and equipment. And yes some hospital staff offer different levels of care for mental health and physical health patients.

 This two sides of the same coin became very clear to me as I was in the same hospital in recent stays one for my physical health and the other for my mental health. While I was in my room recovering from my surgery I looked out my window and could see the building that I was once a patient in a patient in pain. One side of this building had boarded up windows like some old tenement and I knew that a person deserving the same dignity and respect that I was receiving  was getting the second tier of care. Stigma is not always verbal, sometimes it is brick and morter, policy professional attitude, and this needs to change.

 In the coming years thanks to a single generous donor is funding a new purpose built mental health centre will be built at VGH. Our community is lucky to have received such a wonderful gift. But still attitudes cannot be funded and must change from within, and with education, compassion and care.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"What Happens in Crazy Does Not Stay in Crazy"

Photo by Liz Kearsley

For over a year I have been writing very openly about my life living with mental illness, and when I began little did I know the impact that it would have on me. My decision to blog openly, discussing my life's dirty secrets, fears, neurosis and other mental minefields was at the time a easy one. Hoping that by doing so I could just maybe make a difference in the way people view, people living with a mental illness as well as helping myself.

   I never really carried any shame with my Bipolar Disorder, I came to a personal place where it was not something to be ashamed of. Blogging all the while I was a inpatient in the Psych Ward and undergoing what some see as a controversial treatment of ECT was I no brainer as the treatment worked for me and I felt it should be talked about in the open. Yet I carried the shame and stigma of my other disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, as it carries much heavier stigma than Mood Disorders do. You  see people can understand the chemical medical reasons for Mood Disorders, but not their uglier step sibling Personality Disorders. Just saying it says, "Damn there must be something really fucked up with him, he has a Personality Disorder", which has no biological reason it is behavioral in nature and little understood.

  I admit that I do carry shame with my BPD, it makes me fear being around people as it might and has caused interpersonal relationships to fail. I can explain Bipolar in a reasonable manner. It for all it's craziness is predictable and fairly easy to control. But I cannot explain why I do the things I do that are attached to my BPD, and when asked by others I am at a complete loss, it baffles me and rides me deeper into my already existent depression. It is like gas on my depressive fire.

 Blogging about myself in a personal manner has put me out there exposed for everyone to see, the good and the brutally ugly. But I cannot put the cat back in it's bag that is the reality of personal blogging, the self exposure. While I may been seen as a crazy asshole to many, I hope that some still can see the decent man that is intertwined with his illness. A man that is yes on one side very ill and tortured by said illness, yet still tries to be kind.

 I am not sure if I still have a audience for my words or friendship, or if my blog make any difference in anyone's life or moves to assist in breaking down some of the walls of Mental Health stigma? I am battling with ending my public fight with my mind and returning to the safe world of anonymity. I am well aware that I am a polarizing personality that some find me to be pest upon the social media community. I also know that I have some friends who still despite myself are still my friends and support me. But I am scared to continue blogging and that is the rub. That if I continue to write so openly and personally I will do more harm than good.

  On Tuesday I will undergo my first spinal surgery and this is scaring the crap out of me. Why? Not because of the surgery it's self. I have little fear of dying or my chances of paralysis. I am scared because I know I am doing this pretty much alone. Much of my support system is either dead, out of town, or I have driven away. In a final act of "Fuck You Steve" my brain is having the last word, saying that I do not deserve the support I so greatly wish for, that this is the price I will pay this Holiday season for my shitty disorder that  I do not understand or did anything to bring on myself.

 Living so openly with mental illness can at the same moment be destructively painful and the ultimate in freedom. I have and am experiencing both and battling with effects of being crazy and out. I wish I was a better role model for mental health. But I am just trying to be a role model to myself because that is all I have right now.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Tomatoes, Handcuffs & Prisons Dirty Little Secret"

   The U.S. Prison system's dirty little secret is it's connection to providing cheap labour for private industry. For years prisons used inmate labour, on prison farms, and prison industries like making officer furniture and school desks for the states the reside in. While it is acceptable and encouraged for inmates to hold jobs and providing affordable products for use by the state, soon and quietly the scope of these industries have changed.

  One state in particular has in the last 15 years become harsher in it's penal system, Arizona. The state of Arizona declared war on crime and one county and one Sheriff in particular have become famous for it's treatment and prosecution of crime. Maricopa County and the self declared toughest Sheriff in the Country,
Joe Arpaio. Sheriff Joe is currently under investigation by the US Justice Dept. for corruption.

 Sheriff Joe along with the Governor of Arizona both helped pass the toughest and most questionable immigration policy in the US this spring, what is just coming to light is that law was also financially supported by the private prison industry. It seems that Arizona wants as many people as possible in it's public and private prisons.

  Here is where it gets very dark, and the story that few are talking about. The other night while on the phone with my friend John in NY, we browsing the Arizona State Prison website, looking at inmate photos, crimes and sentences. The ADC website also lists where the inmates are working in the prison and how much they are making per hour. It is well established that inmates make very little, between .15 & .50 a hour working various labour jobs within the prison. So while searching we found a job called "EuroFresh". we were both curious to what that job could be, so we hit the Google and guess what we found?

 "EuroFresh"  is a commercial Tomato Farm, providing tomatoes to the retail and commercial food industry. Their website says nothing about prison labour. We also found another job called "Hickman Eggs", well good old "Hickman Family Farms" website is full of family farm focused marketing, ecards about eggs, and videos of what a family operation it is, but they fail to mention they use hundreds of inmates as labour.

 It is of no surprise that the State of Arizona does  not want migrant Mexican workers in it's agro industry when they are profiting of inmates. \why pay a migrant worker 4.00 a hour when they can pay a inmate .40 a hour?

 Is the State of Arizona and others providing private business with cheap labour when unemployment is at 10%? Are Judges and prosecutors sending people to prison for small non violent offences in order to supply private agro industry with a cheap never ending supply of workers?

  The largest employer in the United States is the Prison System, providing millions of workers, producing profit for large corporations. In my opinion this is creating a secret slave labour state and could implicate states in human trafficking. So next time you buy eggs or tomatos or god knows what, it just might be produced by some guy or girl who got caught with a bong.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

"My Second Coming Out"

 I have done it again, I lied to a friend after I promised not to lie again. I have in a previous blog talked about the fact that I have a problem with lying. Through out my life I have hurt people close to me and have made it difficult and painful to be close to me.  I am also aware that by admitting this I am at risk of loosing whatever friends I may left or am beginning to develop as trust is a issue that once breeched is almost impossible to regain.

 I have openly discussed my bipolar disorder, and while it carries a stigma of it's own The other disorder I have carries a larger one. I also have Borderline Personality Disorder. I have lived in denial of this for many many years because of image that is attached to it. Coming out with this is not easy nor is it some kind of excuse or erasure of my actions.

 I accept full responsibility for my actions I am aware that it is damaging and hurtful and that the many will seek to distance themselves from me because of it. I am not seeking sympathy, I am writing this out of complete shame, I am in my heart a good person, but lying is barrier that destroys every relationship it touches so I am unable to be the good person that lies beneath.

 I have known about my Borderline Personality Disorder since I was a teen but rejected it. I did not want this label, because with it comes a great social stigma. denying it for so many years has caused so much damage and turmoil in my life, yet I was never at a point where I could admit this to myself or others and in doing so created great pain for those around me and myself.

 Coming out publicly on this blog for all the world to see may just be my bottom, like a alcoholic or addict, only once a person reaches their bottom can they get help. I may very well loose many more people in my life now and that is a fact I must accept. But I am tired of living like this, welcoming and celebrating one side of my mental health, while ignoring and denying another.

 I will seek help for this and will until I am on some kind of path to recovery, distance myself further from most people, until I am sure that the chances of me emotionally hurting others has lessened. I will still take care of my other medical needs and will face my upcoming surgery on Friday and in the New Year ahead. While my continued physical battles will probably be faced alone, I am prepared for that as well as that may just be for the best.

 To all I have hurt, I am deeply sorry and I am aware that my word means little, if you so choose to revisit a friendship with me in the future, thank you, if not, I fully understand.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Did Your Crazy Person Take Their Meds Today"

One common theme in my life since I came out as "Crazy" to be not so politically correct is Stigma I get from friends and loved ones. I am aware that many times in my life, my behaviors, and actions have given for good reason people in my life to pause and think, "Well Steven is Bipolar so I expect him to be a fuck up". This is a tendency that a lot of people roll into when they have a friend or loved one living with a mental illness.

  The people around us tend to think that we will go bat shit crazy at every and any moment of stress or crisis. While yes sometimes we do react to stressors differently than "Earth People", we do not always fall apart when someone over cooks our bacon, or tofu for you vegan freaks out there. I have and have had friends who will talk to me like I am egg rolling on the edge of the countertop just about to fall. I to have faced to assumption that my illnesses effects stops me from making any sound decisions in my life.

  These behaviors from people around us can lead us to closet our illness and not talk openly about them. So many other people I know who live every day with a mental illness will always mention this one nag that grates on them worse than Nancy Grace on 5 cans of 4Loco. " Have you taken your meds?"

 While I understand the worry and concern comes from a loving place, it usually seems like when ever we get excited about something or sad about something, someone, somewhere will ask us about our meds. Even when taking meds our moods may change, our illness may manifest in different ways, but it does not mean we are advancing in our illness or facing Thumper in the rabbithole.

Being open about Mental Illness brings on whole new sets of Stigma, and a lot of it comes from a loving place. Yes when I am manic I get sewing machine legs, I also get it when I am excited, or nervous. Same with my rapid talking. It comes and goes with my mood and will become pronounced when I am riding my Manic Unicorn to Fruitloopville.

  If someone you know is living with a mental illness, yes look out for them, I appreciate it when it done for me. But try and resist the "Have you taken your meds" line of questioning. It is a pet peeve of most of us with a mental illness. Also to others out there try and not assume that because we live with a mental illness that our cognitive  skills are less than yours. I am lucky to have amazing people in my life who see me not me with a illness. That is the most difficult thing for anyone who knows someone with a serious mental illness to do, is to see the person, not the person with a disease. I am also blessed to have a best friend who sees me as me.

Friday, November 26, 2010

"What Nightmares May Come"

I have always dreamed vivid realistic dreams. I am also quite frequently able to awake and return to my dreams where I left off. This is great when it is a good dream but not when I am having a nightmare.  Last night was one of those nightmare nights.

 Restless sleep mixed with a vivid never ending nightmare, which transfered into my awake state enough to leave me confused about my surroundings are bad enough. But Mix that with a nightmare of being committed to mental hospital by my father with the help of my friends only to be told they would never see me again, no one would, made last night's experience brutal. In my dream I was wandering the hospital looking for a way home in my gown, only to get turned around and returned to my bed. Then I would wake up and think I was in my dream.

 My mind was caught in circle of thought, asleep I was back in the asylum, awake I was dreading returning the asylum and had panic attacks every time I awoke. As I am writing this hours later it is still fresh in my mind and have been mildly traumatized all day. I am off my emotional game today big time.

 Psychotropic drugs used to treat mental illness can cause intense dreams and nightmares. It is  just something you have to live with. But every once and awhile the perfect storm of restless sleep and nightmares strikes and I am still surprised at the emotional toll it can take on me. Part of it is the subject of my evening, a fear of a lot of people living with mental illness is being committed to a hospital, mix this will trippy confusing visuals and the sleep - consciousness crossing and it becomes a micro mental health event.  Lets hope tonight is all rainbows and fucking unicorns or just a plain of no dream sleep.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"1985, The Xmas That Started My Holiday Crazies"

 I don't usually write much about my past especially the painful parts, the family parts. The parts that have very slow healing wounds and leave long lasting scars. But I will write about one such event, that is one of the triggers of my holiday season crazies.

 I was a older young person and It was my freshman year in university, and my battle with BiPolar Disorder was in it's relative infancy. My family had planned a huge get together in Vermont so the Canadian & American families could all be together at the same time. They had rented a lodge, planned a cool trip to a maple syrup factory and skiing in nearby New Hampshire. I was excited, I love the country in the winter, that crisp clean feeling, the smell of a fireplace. Which to this day is one of my favorite things.

 The problem was, I was not well entering the holiday season. My Mania was running wild and soon I was living in the land of rapid cycling. I spent my semester's money on booze, and side trips. Living a life larger than I could afford. I was loud and treated my family with verbal barbs when they tried to rein me in for my own good. I soon crashed and was again suicidal. I attempted to hang myself only to fail and found myself in hospital in NYC.

 You can imagine the scene in a NYC psch ward, it was a zoo, and me going from 100mph to 0 at a days notice. But for me it was about to get worse. My family convinced my parents to leave me in hospital and come on vacation. They said, "Steven is sick and does not need you right now, what you need is time away from him". This was told to me at a later time by my Mum. My parents caved into the request and soon left for Vermont.

 I was locked in a ward at xmas, they decorated with paper only. Because anything else could be used as a weapon. The xmas lights and tree were hidden behind that glass that has the wire in it and we could watch holiday movies from behind the TV's plexiglass cover. The whole xmas season, I received no visits, no calls, no contact from my family. They were all off in the place I had hoped to be, but my mind would not allow.

 My parents on return apologized for leaving me saying they had no choice and later my aunt told me to stop whining my parents needed a break from the shit I was starting. After that experience I always grasped onto the holidays, holding them as a important barometer to my social, family health my belonging.

 I was lucky for many years my holidays with my wife were always great, filled with friends and family, yet I was always worried I would be left out. Jay would have to comfort me in the weeks leading to them, reassuring me that I would not be left alone.

  Family can make mistakes, they are allowed, and it is only human. I forgave my parents and understand they made a bad choice when they were also not in the right frame off mind. Mental Illness, stresses families into tough places. It strips them of control. I may never feel comfortable or settled this time of the year. My holiday in hospital, alone may stay will me forever. But I am not totally alone. I do have many people who care for me as I do them. I just get a little nuts this time of year.

"An Apology From My Heart"

Yesterday's post, came from a place in my mind ruled by, depression, and fear. In doing so I hurt and insulted some people whom I see as my closest friends and people who have stood by me when I have been at my lowest and not just when I am at my Healthiest.

 First I have to apologize to my best friend, a women who has so many times looked after me when I was down, A woman who dispite the diffulculty of raising two great kids, taking care of a very ill husband all the while juggling a  full time teaching job. Airdrie I am sorry, that my words hurt you. I am sorry if I took your friendship for granted. I have no excuses except my damaged mind, but this is little compared to the hurt I have caused you. You are my best friend, now and always. I appreciate you even if I have difficulty showing it.

 To My friends from afar like John, Barney, Eric and Al. Your friendship has been with me for years and too has suffered to some extent from my illness as well. Yet you have always stood by me, especially Al,  we grew up together and shared so many day and nights, we know each other more than two people can. I was and am still part of your family, as you are mine. Your family excepted me as their own, and welcomed me into their home when I was at my worst not just my best. A fact that brings me warmth whenever  I think of it.
Eric you too have been by my side thru so many things and even if we have not seen each other in years you will always be one of my best friends. Barns, your friendship is fairly new on this list, yet you have too been a good friend, and that was from the moment we met. I look forward to it's growth in the future.
John, I speak to you almost every day, we can talk for hours and these hours help get me through my rough days and lighten up my good ones. We are similar animals on a similar path, your friendship means more to me than I can readily wax on about. But I think you know that.

To anyone else I may have forgotten, my previous blog post was about my sense of loss of family, and my loneliness that seeps in during this time of year. It sparks a ugly behavior like envy when I see others starting to gather My depession can turn me into a person that even I would not be friends with.
I am very and completely sorry and humbled by my friends kindness and love.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"A Season of Loneliness"

As we enter the beginning of the holiday season and people , friends, family all hunker down with each other to feel the love and the safety that comes with this love, I stand alone.

 I once had these kind of holiday seasons, full of friendship, family and love, but they have been slowly stripped from me one brick at a time till my emotional foundation was like the end game piece of a Jenga game. Some of my friends and family are lost to me through natural reasons, people come in your life and people go. I think about a lot of them but they do not hold heavy on my soul. There are the friends and family that have passed away, many of them to were not bricks that held part of my emotional life together.

 The ones that hurt, the losses that rip out my soul are those of my close family and friends. This is my first holiday season without any real family or circle of friends. This year it was the loss of my father, before that my mother and before that my best friend, my wife Jay. I have lost friends due to my mental illness and the damage that it causes, some where family but most are friends.

 So I sit and watch commercials, shows, news stories, tweets and facebook messages all beginning to talk about the holidays. And they are killing my soul, stealing what is left of my humanity and ability to love. I am dying and there may not be many holiday seasons left for me. But I fear they will all be alone. This is not the time of year to develop new friends and to be welcomed inside from the cold because all are already nesting, planning for the season.

 The most difficult thing in my mental illness is the loneliness, that hollow helpless soul crushing loneliness. It forces people to keep a distance but let them close enough for me to see. My best friends, either live to far away, or have a family of their own. There is no blame to be given, I was just the odd one out. I should be grateful ,blah, blah, blah, for what I once had. I am and I miss it.

 The one time a year that you know you have and are not a have not is when someone says, "You are welcome here, you for this season are family". I am not alone in this feeling thousands feel it every year, and thousands more will next year.

 I am facing my rabbit hole of depression, questioning everything in my life, wondering what I have done wrong and what I can do, if anything to salvage a life out of what I have. A life without people to share it with, the tears, the laughter, the quiet normalcy, is little of a life. For some this is ok, for me years ago this may have been fine. But to me now, after I have tasted the wine of companionship it is not. This season may be a watermark for me. I may get the answer to my pain. The pain and human void that this disease, this horrifically isolating disease has brought me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"The badger is Bumped Again From Surgery"

I woke up this morning expecting to be writing about my back surgery. But I am not, after waiting all morning in the admissions area of VGH, and not eating and drinking for 12 hours, they once again bumped my surgery.

   I am done, I guess the pain which has left me either unable to walk, stand or sit for more than 10 minutes is not enough for them, They keep telling me not to worry but my big surgery is still going to happen after New Years. I am saying FUCK YOU. I am in agony, and have been for all reason bed bound for 2 weeks. I have been once again told to go back to my bed and suffer some more.

 Pain alone is a horrible thing, it demoralizes ths best of us. But I am also prone to depression. Depression enjoys pain and uses it to further degrades it's victims and I am degraded, and my depression is worse than usual, I feel abandoned by the healthcare system. I feel like crawling away and never coming back. I feel worthless, because if I was worth something I would get care and not live in pain,

 Maybe the pain is karma from the shitty things I have done, maybe I deserve to suffer so. What I do know is that I am very very angry and disappointed and want to curl up and die, because then I would be pain free. But I want to live so there is the rub. Maybe I will just stop moaning online and leave everyone alone. I know you are all tired of my bitching.

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Blogomercials and Social Media Marketing"

Stop It Already!!! We are bombarded with some kinds of marketing ploy in every venue of our lives it has become a non-stop cacophony of "Buy This", "I Can Make Your This" , blaa blaa blaa bull shit.

 I expect it from TV it is for the most part transparent 15 minutes of programming then 3 minutes of ad man noise. Then we had Infomercials, these schlocky hour long advert loosely disguised as a "Talk Show" or "New Magazine Story" to sell us crap that usually does not work. So no wonder the marketers have discovered the easy street that is "The Blog".

  When blogging started they were for the most part personal logs from a real person about their lives, They were a window into our friends or people we wanted to be our friends. I liked that, I still for the most part only read personal blogs. So no surprise when the enterprising marketer discovered blogging. They could create digital adverts, or co-op people into a outlet for their digital adverts.

 I will continue to support personal blogs and commercial blogs which will place real reviews and critical articles on them. I really like a blog that is commercial like . He at least will be critical of stuff and it is not all rainbows and unicorns.

 If we are not careful, social media will be totally co-oped by marketers and the open speech information sharing that occurs will vanish as people loose trust in the medium.

 The blogs that I personally find to be nothing more than at best a arm of marketers and at worst a Blogfomercial. It is the Blogfomercials that really get to me, the use of a media which people associate with real people writing real opinions are nothing more than "Advertising" , Glossed up to or down to look like a personal review or subject of interest.

 How do they do this? Well bloggers love clicks, love attention and love free shit. Perfect for marketers, where giving a blogger a free dinner, trip, product in return for a positive experience blog post is cheaper and more effective target advertising than a TV spot, or a ad in the local fishwrapper weekly.

 I personally now because of the lack of un-compensated blogs only take product, dinner, event recommendations, from friends or community review sites like Yelp. It is a symbiotic parasitic relationship for the marketers and bloggers. The marketers get cheap promotion, the bloggers get free crap, but the consumer like me gets a non-review review. If you do not believe me, visit some of these blogs, do you ever, ever see a critical restaurant review? Or hear about a dirty room at a hotel? never!

 This atmosphere of blogomericals has also taken hold on twitter, especially since it has become the wild west of marketing. Anyone who has ever sold anything, is somewhat tech and social media savy is marketing their wares on twitter now, filling friends streams up with one pitch after another. Me personally would love to see a commercial and non commercial twitter stream.

"It's Me Behind This Wall, Please Stay Tuned"

My depression is holding steady still good that I am not jumping down the rabbit hole that I have been down so many times. This is probably due to me getting the right meds and actually taking them. Yet I am fighting my demon, my emotional wall.

   I tend to force my wall up when I feel fragile or vulnerable. I hate it because I will keep people at a distance and I have been working hard to not due this and have made some strides. Still my mind tells me that I am better off protected. The problem is that I do not want to be alone, I hate it. I try and tell myself that I can have my walls up and still not be alone, I will just go back to surface relationships with people other than the ones I emotionally trust. See I have major abandonment issues.

   My abandonment issues started with the sexual abuse that my uncle victimized me with. For year I did not stand up for myself and once I did, half of my family chose sides and sided with my Uncle rather than crazy Steven. I grew up with half a family, crappy holidays, less of a family support system because of me defending myself. My next sense of abandonment came with my discovering that I was adopted. I was a teen, dealing with the usual teen search for a sense of self identity and poof, all I thought of who I was, was gone. I was soon losing friends as my Bipolar Disorder became apparent, more real and imagined abandonment,

I did ok for awhile til my wife got sick and died. She was the first person in my adult life to accept me for what and who I was, did not judge me and loved me until the end. After she was gone I learned that her side of the family left me as well. I was just beginning to love the holidays and now they were gone. I learned to build my walls keeping all but a few people completly out. and letting them in only as close as my heart could be comfortable in.

 This fear of abandonment has done me no good, it has caused me to loose more people who cared for me than I at most times willing to admit. I have left a path of emotional damage behind me. Ironically my fear of hurting others with my fucked up issues has also played a huge part in my wall building.

 Now days I do not want to live this way, I want a full life with the amazing people in my life, but I fear that I cannnot heal, cannot learn to be a friend. I sleep with my fear and depression wondering if I am too broken for anyone who already has a life to want to stick around.

 I am working to not be this, working to be a better person who is not controlled by his fears and abandonment both real and imagined. I hope by writing about this both me and others will great understand who I am.

 I love my friends they are the only family I have left. I am just not sure that I show it enough or at all.

Friday, November 12, 2010

"Hey There Rabbit... Nice Hole"

The recent downturn in my physical health is beginning to have a emotional toll on me as well. On Wends. my  pain came to a crescendo, which had me going to emerg again. This time they wanted to operate to relieve some of my pain, and that was good because I am reaching the end of my pain rope. For over a week I have been basically bed bound, unable to walk, stand or do anything, simply a prisoner of my mattress.

  I was admitted to hospital only to find out in the morning that they could not do the surgery because the hospital was understaffed. I was heartbroken, and left to go home with a fist full of stronger pain meds and the mattress of solitude. I am a strong guy stronger than probably most people think. I have battled a lot of crap in my life and  although I have been beaten up I walked out the other side. I will do this again, there is little doubt of it.

 Here is the big "But", I am exhausted, isolated, in pain and stuck in this damn apt. I am also finding that my depression is increasing with my pain, my minds ability to fight off this situation is growing increasingly difficult. Depression feeds on misery, face it misery is like potato chips for depression, it can't have just one and chooses to feed till the bag is empty. I am not going down my rabbit hole but I am peeking into it. I will get through this, but right now it really fucking sucks.

 I am on stronger meds so my while it reduces my pain, it increases my zombieness. It is I guess the price I have to pay right now for less physical pain, and I have hope that my psych meds will help with my emotional pain. Maybe soon I will have a truce with the mattress of solitude, until then I have sleep, cable TV and the internet.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 9 "Let The Mystery Be"

 Due to medication induced writer's block today's post cosists of just a video and my Movember facial hair update.

This Video is a song from a American singer song writer Iris Dement. The song is about what happens when we leave this world. Not a sad song mind you, just a favorite of mine and my late wife. The song gives me comfort.

"Let The Mystery Be"

And here is my Movember Mustache Update day 9!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 8 " And Shoes Fall From The Sky"

Waiting for the other shoe to fall, it is past time for many and not just people like me with living with a mental illness. But for us it can take us for a emotional and behavioral ride that even Chicken Little could not imagine. Yes it is ok to worry, we all do it and it is natural but for me worrying that that shoe will drop leads me into my Bipolar tail chasing. My personal Chicken Little syndrome is about fear of abandonment or that I will be disappointed by or that I will disappoint someone .

 Some may see my easy going, what happens, happens attitude as a extreme type "B" personality but it is only a survival skill that I have developed over the years. Life will always fling poo in the path of my journey and if I walk around expecting said poo to land on my face I can spend little to enjoy the journey for what it is, and yes that includes the occasional poo in face.

 Will people hurt me, probably, will life fuck with me yup, but it also does that to everyone else. The difference is that with me it could trigger my depression and anxiety in a second if I do not take a step backwards. I am a overly sensitive person I react badly to situations which trigger my emotions. I have made a attempt in my life whenever I can not to expect the shoe to drop but to see the sky beyond and the place I am in right now.

For the people living with mental illness we have had thousands of shoes drop some big some small and a lot hurt when they hit you. It is easy for us to focus on the shoe that may or may not come and soon that shoe is big enough for Mother Goose to use as a time share in Boca. The point of this is. I cannot avoid my feelings and worries, but I can try to understand them and spend too much energy letting them feed in my head.  Even Chicken Little learned that the sky is not always falling and we are all smarter than poultry.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

NoBloPoMo Day 7 "What Do You Hear in These Sounds"

 I am taking it easy this Sunday yet in the spirit of NaBloPoMo I will post a little something.

This Video from a friend is about therapy and healing, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 6 " Does This Pill Make My Ass Look Fat?"

 For a lot of people living with mental illness medication is a necessary evil they help us maintain mental wellness and live a happy, fruitful life. But this life can come with side effects and one of the most common and mentioned is weight gain.

 drugs like Seroquel which is commonly referred to as the "Carb Monster" can pack on weight by doing two things, slowing the metabolism and craving carbs and other tasty tidbits in epic amounts. I am will to be larger if I can maintain a healthier mental life but some people struggle with this. The media and society also stigmatizes fat people. I am tired of people saying, "Just exercise and eat well" and the weight will come off" as this is not always possible with people on psychotropic meds. All the dieting and healthy eating in the world will not help when the meds just put weight on you. And a fuck you to the fitness industry who feeds off the insecurity of people..

TV shows talk about dieting at no end because we think thinner people are better people yet no one talks about the 20% of North Americans who are on Psych Meds whose weight gain is not a choice but one that is a effect of working to stay sane. How many thousands of people we see every day who are not rail thin are on meds. How many people who others have said, "Look how he or she let herself go" is taking life saving meds.

 If you throw in the stigma of mental health on top of the stigma of weight gain, people living with mental illness are faced with a double whammy of finger pointing. Again I will state that I am comfortable with my size and like myself, my weight gain is a direct effect from my meds, but my sanity is more important than being able to fit into Lululemon clothes. And while I am on Lululemon, as a company fuck you for judging people who are not tits on a stick, some of us have a reason for not being a size zero, it is called survival. So think before you judge someone on size for any reason not just medication induced chubbiness, we are all just trying to live.

Friday, November 5, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 5 "Deadly Advice" Scientology's Anti Psych Front Groups

 In the battle for education, care and stigma reduction the lines in the sand have been made into dangerous quick sand by the Cult known as "The Church of Scientology". Since 1952 Scientology has waged a personal war against Psychiatry worldwide and this war has come at the cost of not only the mental health lives of thousands but also has claimed many physical lives directly.

  Many people desperately seeking answers to their own or family member's struggles with mental illness come face to face with lead them to many placing offering answers from government agencies to not for profits who seek to educate with Mental Health options. But one group in particular has used the internet, social media, traditional media and front groups to push their dangerous agenda more than any other, Scientology.

Many of us are aware of this so called churches feeling on modern, evidence based Psychiatry. From their anti Psych poster boy Tom Cruise's now infamous rant on the "Oprah" show and the "Today" show. Scientology has proved to be a danger to those seeking reliable help. But the real truth is that they have created Front Groups or Cooped existing groups in order to fuel their paranoid hate of mainstream mental healthcare. The largest and best funded of these groups is the deceptively titled, "Citizens Commission on Human Rights" (CCHR). This slick org which calls it's self a Human Rights Org only has one function, the destruction of Psychiatry  and nothing else. They have also created a youth front group targeting pediatric psychiatry called

 They also have flooded Youtube with anti psych videos and publish thousands of blogs seemingly from mental health survivors and professional that lead people to the church and their front groups. They have managed to produce documentaries that are shown on mainstream cable networks.

 in 1996 the Church of Scientology sued and forced the "Cult Awareness Network" into bankruptcy, they then bought the domain name and trademark and now run the network themselves as a front group telling people that they are a religious and therapeutic option.

In one of the most tragic personal events in recent years Scientology convinced Elli Perkins and her Husband to not medicate their son Jeremy Perkins, a 28 year old untreated schizophrenic and on March 13th 2003 Jeremy stabbed his mother 77 times. .

 This is just one horrific examples of how dangerous the advice of Scientology is in regards to Mental Illness.
Seeking advice for Mental Health issues is a life and death issue and with the Cult's ability to manipulate media so well this leaves so many at risk. Most people dealing for the first time with a sick loved one will naturally seek any options for care and it makes sense that they would follow a course that does not lead to medications or main stream therapies, this is all part of the public's Stigma in regards to Mental Health.

 The best way to fight this stigma is to speak out be a voice and provide real, proven options to the community or else dangerous groups like Scientology will continue to destroy lives for their own twisted end.

For More Info on Scientology and It's Front Groups, visit Operation Clambake

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 4 " Mix One Part Chronic Pain With Two Parts Crazy & Get a Screwed Up Badger"

Bedsides my mental illness I also suffer from Chronic and severe pain. I am used to living each day in physical pain I have no choice and you somewhat get used to it. But on other days my pain is so bad that I am unable to function like anywhere near a normal physical level.

 Today my spine pain was so severe mixed with a condition called Cauda Equina Syndrome  caused me to shit and piss myself, I am also suffering from loss of feeling in my genitals. I am scared, in pain and mix that with my anxiety and depression and I am a pretty fucked up person. I may have to have surgery early next week if the swelling and self shitting continues.

 I am not good at being cared for, I am used to being the care giver or being alone, that is what I know and this behavior of keeping everything to me has and is destroying personal relationships. By behavior is my fault and mine alone. I am fighting to change this but it is not going as smooth and easy as I would like. My selfish attitude must change because right now I am frankly being a asshole.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NaBloMoPo Day 3 "Lost Nuts, Living a High Functioning Mental Illness Life"

 Living with a mental illness no matter what the diagnosis is never easy, we face a maze of barriers every day. These barriers vary greatly amongst the mental health community and from region, and country. The barriers I faced in the United States are very different in many ways from the ones I see every day here in Canada. The one constant one that myself and many others like me battle with everywhere is that of the high functioning mental health survivor.

 Everyone has seen the visible person living with a mental illness, you know the scene. The man or woman who is talking to people who are not there, or the young person wearing a winter coat in July who cannot make eye contact or seems socially in pain. What we rarely see is the person who goes to a office every day or works in a factory seems on most outward appearances to be fairly normal.

 There are lots of services and support for the lower functioning or persons with multiple barriers in the community, from drop-ins to medical and therapy services. The community actively looks out and rightfully for this segment of the Mental Health Community but those who do not need such intensive support has a hard time accessing help.

 Not being visibly ill leaves us unable due to economic or social reasons to access services available to others.
I see it when I speak with mental health professionals, they are so overwhelmed by the community that is on the edge that my invisible community falls through the cracks and is left to seek out help on ones own.

 I perfect example of this is Vancouver is the "Mental Health Team". The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority Mental Health Teams provide Psychiatric care for thousands of people in the lower mainland. But I cannot access their services because I make too much money and I seem to not be quiet the kind of sick they can take. I am still on a waiting list for a private Psychiatrist this could take 6 months to a year. I am high functioning but I am also living with a drug resistant, case of BiPolar I. And I can become very ill very quickly. It is a simple case of being very sick, yet not sick enough.

This problem may seem to a outsider to be trivial but to the millions who live in my segment of the Mental Health Community it is not. We tend to suffer in silence and that too is a shame. On a positive side social media has become a place where the community can and does share information and support  in ways many others cannot access regularly. In so many ways we are the  "Lost Nuts"  of the Mental Health Community.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 2 #29 of 30 things I Will & Will Not Do To Stay Sane"

Welcome to day two of my attempt to blog each and every day during November. Today was a difficult day to blog because of the elections in the southern land of teabaggistan. So my post tonight will just me relishing in the loss of the Non Masturbating Witch and teabagger Christine O'Donnell with a bat shit crazy photo flashback.

And to Carl Rove....GO FUCK YOURSELF!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 1 " 30 Things I am Willing to Do Or Not Do To Stay Sane"

It is NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) again whereas one should write a post everyday for 30 days. Last year I attempted this while I was a brand new and yet to be trolled baby blogger and made it 12 days. This year I am a year older wiser and more maybe less nuts who knows. I am not raising any money this year as everyone is screwed from the economy and I am raising money for "Movember" whilst I grow facial hair resembling a 70's porn star or Tom Selleck maybe a mix of both. You can donate for that HERE.

 What I am going to do in my never ending battle to fight Mental Health Stigma is write a post everyday on what I will do and what I would not do to keep myself sane and healing. Hoping to use humor and facts to debunk some of the stand alone remedies for mental illness I will also mention healthy positive ideas to improve mentally healthy living for people suffering with Mental Illness and those who care for and love them. I will also mention a Bipolar Hero of the Day at the bottom of all my posts this month.



Might as well start with a biggie , Scientology! The cult of Scientology has waged a war on mental health care for years, claiming medications are evil and destroy the souls of humans. They think space aliens and made by cult member lie detectors are far, far effective and keeping folks from suffering depression. This treatment lasts only as long as your back account still have cash in it. They Xenu will cover your body with spare straight theatans from Tom Cruises body. They have created false Psychiatry organizations showing fake sciencey data that only "Their" ($$$$) vitamins and spending time all sweaty in  sauna with guys like Tommy boy can treat your mania.


 I will take my Meds and take them as prescribed by my Physician. Today's meds may have some bad side effects like (Midnight Dorito Consumption Syndrome) or (Nothing Will Fit me at American Eagle Outfitters Disorder). These meds do work once you and your medical professional find the right fit. No one likes taking pills face it but the alternative in my life is far worse and could kill me and I know most of you do not wish me dead. Also because that one pill works well does not mean you should eat them like a bag of skittles in the hands of a 6 year old. Over taking your meds is just as dangerous if not more.

My Bipolar Hero of the Day!

Carrie Fisher / Actress/ Writer / Bat Shit Crazy and Wonderful 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Depression is a Evil Little Lurker

 My doctor has seemed to get my meds right since my last meltdown and for the most part I have been feeling pretty balanced and generally happy. My life is nowhere near perfect and I am not running around shitting rainbows and unicorns but my lows are not as low and thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster my highs are not as high or prolonged.
 Still though I live with a pretty serious level med resistant BiPolar Disorder and what may seem balanced to me will seem pretty nuts for others especially folks who do not know me well. The hardest thing I fight of late is not my manic highs they are pretty well tied up in my emotional basement in the time out corner. It is my depression that is always lurking just under covers. It makes me want to isolate, and not take proper care of myself. I am currently battling a minor depressive episode which seems to like my company a little too much. My self awareness allows me to see the symptoms, like my current desire to hide in my apt, yet unable to fully make the feelings go away. This is how depression tortures people, it is like a bully sitting across from you always reminding you that you are not in full control of your emotions and there is little you can do about it.
 These depressions for my seem to cycle and my rational brain knows that soon it will fade. But for the time being I may isolate more and feel like crap some days.
 I am fighting a life long battle that will never stop it is the part of living with a mental illness that is exhausting to the person living with it and to the people close to the person living with it. I am grateful though in a odd way that I am depressed and not manic because my mania tends to leave me with lots of emotional wreckage within my personal life and my little lurking depression is less offensive.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Rumble in My Lumbar a Cage Fight With Cancer"

Today I met with both my Neurosurgeon and my Oncologist to discuss my treatment for Chordoma bone cancer which this badger has been living with. I have not been too eager to treat this choosing to live in the lovely Isle O' Denial for months. But both physical pain, rabid threats by my very cool GP and a desire to want to maybe live motivated me to take a more proactive role in my treatment.
not actual cage thank Jebus
nor is this cage a accurate portrayal of my spine cage thank Jebus on a bicycle. 

  Soon a Cage Fight of Calciumatoic proportions will take place in my spine,as the surgery is rarely done, and I will need some custom made cyborg / airport security pissing off parts. I have to have another MRI in a few weeks to measure my spiney goodness so they can manufacture a special flexible cage to place over my L-4 and L-5 vertebrae once they remove more than a quarter of each one. This bone exorcism will remove the tumors and the cage will provide support. After a few months they will check my bone growth and see if it has new cancerous bone if so they will remove more bone and put in bone from a dead guy or gal to shore things up.

 I am scared shitless, this is a new surgery and a risky one, I could and there is a good chance loose all bone support in my spine and face a life with paralysis, a option they weighed heavily on my decision and my denial.    I will not be needing Chemo after all, because it just does not work on what I have and my radiation will continue only after the epic cage fight. I will continue to try and keep my mental health up while awaiting my fight and am stronger due to support from good friends. "So Lets Get Ready To Rumble in this corner Bad Bone in the Other The Bagder! A Cage Fight of the Century!!!"

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"I Just Never Knew, You Seemed So Happy."

 Can there be darkness in the light? Yes just check the shadows and there you will find darkness even in the bright tropical sun there will be pockets of darkness. To most people the image of depression is the sad person who never leaves the house or rarely baths. The person for whom no stimulus what so ever can lift them to any joy and the visually witnessed depression covers them and smothers their souls.

  I have had the aforementioned depression the dark rabbit hole kind of way suffering the feelings of just wanting to disappear into the warm dark hole it offers. This is not my only form of depression, I also churn with what some have called and what may be in the new DSM manual "Smiling Depression".

 Walk and interact with most people and they would never know that I was depressed, I can for the most part function publicly like all is ok, when inside I am an emotional train wreck choo chooing my way down my mental health tracks. Some professional are torn if this is a different form of depression that camouflages it's self in public as emotional protection, or a learned behavior that one uses to mingle in the world without drawing attention to yourself.

  Smiling depression is a silent killer, how many times have we overheard, " I never knew she or he was depressed". they showed no outwards signs. It is a emotional shape sifter keeping it's darkness a secret. How do we fight this thief of souls, well it is not easy. I suffer from it and the only way for me to really fight it is now that I am so open with a few close friends whom I trust emotionally, I can tell them when my unwanted sidekick "Smiley the fucked up depression" comes over to play. It also is important for loved ones and friends who can see thru it when they want to see it to talk to the persona about it.

 This "Smiling Depression" is slippery and dangerous and I fear is more common than we give it credit to. So if you suffer your depression alone when no one is looking, please go ask for help. You can and should be able to smile when you are alone too.

Friday, October 15, 2010

"Badger for Hire" or "Will Work for Sanity"

I have been struggling for awhile being on disability and not working, I have worked almost all of my adult life and find not working to very very hard to get used to. I am not seeking the same full time work that I have spent the good part of two decades doing as I am not healthy enough physically or Mentally to do my chosen career justice both to myself and possible employers.

  Besides my mental health of which I am still on the mend from, I am also dealing and not dealing with my physical illness. I have a form of Bone Cancer called  "Chordoma"  and this is what causes me all of my physical pain and some days leaves me unable to do much more than eat pills, drool and lay on my bed.

 There are arguments on both sides of me working a little, that I need to focus on my care, and as long as I can feed myself and have a roof over my head than everyone is ok and I should focus on me first. There is also the corner that says " I should work a little or Volunteer somewhere".

 I need to do something, sure my disability insurance is covering my needs but rarely my wants. I used most of my money to cover my debts and the debts of my Father which I promised to take care of. I still miss have the extra cash to do things, to occasionally spoil myself, to be spontaneous at all.  I also need some human contact on a regular basis and working / volunteering would offer me that.

I know I am too sick to work now my heart knows that but my mind does not and fights with my heart. I am stuck and somewhat lost. I feel like a charity case sometimes, ashamed other times when I have no reason to be ashamed. I just miss having a full life like i had. I may get used to this but I do not have to like it.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

"Strength...WTF? Where Did That Come From"

   As I live with my Bipolar disorder and am working towards a better state of Mental Health I doubt my strength. This doubt is a feeling that I alone do not ruminate in, it is as common as eating a bag of Kettle Chips a hour after taking your meds. Often when we are overwhelmed by our own illness or fear of our own illness sneaking back up on us and we feel weak and helpless.

  I discovered that the inner strength that I thought had hitched a ride on my sanity to Vegas had gone and I was now week and unable to rise up to be the person I knew I was. Recently I discovered that my inner strength was still there, all be it somewhat shaky and not perfect it was there, and I was able to get out of my own head long enough to help another when they needed me. It was not a big thing that I had done, or one especially amazing. Yet I was able to find my inner strength and that is the important message for Mental Health Awareness Week.

 Allow yourselves to be strong, to allow that strength to work when you or others need it. Inner strength does not mean you have to be perfect, nor does it mean you cant be emotional. Life makes us feel and our emotions are one of our most honest strengths. Take this day all and exhale knowing when the ass of life starts to fall off your strength might just be there to pick it up for you or others.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"A Demographic of Silence Living With Mental Health Stigma"

 is the relative or total lack of audible sound. By analogy, the word silence may also refer to any absence of communication, even in media other than speech.[1] Silence is also used as total communication, in reference to non verbal communication and spiritual connection.

Silence when it comes to mental illness is a killer, a killer of self esteem, hope, and emotional safety. Silence mixed with stigma is painful and is a cause for those living with Mental Illness to separate ourselves from the world around us. Rarely does a person living with mental illness speak out to identify with or protect others traveling down our own road, because the fear of being stigmatized by others is a constant shroud that covers us. We have all faces stigma, either self imposed or from a external source, both feed each other and keep us in so many ways from reaching our potential. 

Self Imposed Silence & Stigma; We have no parade or telethon, no ribbon that is worn by people en mass, We are rarely mentioned by media unless it is a story on a person who does something horrific, we have few open role models. This is one way we self stigmatize, out of fear of being seen as not fit for society, based on media provided public awareness. We have also lost friends and family, our behaviors actions have caused rifts, or our emotional state is just ignored or seen and blamed on things that are words easier digested, like "Lazy","Unmotivated", "Must be on drugs", words like these and many others keep us from speaking out.

Outside Stigma: The world is not offered a real view of living with mental illness and in some cases has little respect for the suffering. Look at TV, they portray people with mental illness either as a demon or a clown, to mocked or feared. Shows like "Hoarders" uses people with mental illness to be a digital side show as the old fashion side show is long gone and now a family can mock the ill from the comfort of their own sofa. Or crime shows that as far as I know only Portray people with MH as killers and perverts. So is there any wonder why we and our supporters are quiet. Who want to know a killer or pervert.

At Large Stigma: Ever walk down the street  and walking towards you is a man who is talking to nobody and there is no bluetooth headset under his or her seasonally inappropriate clothing. How often have people laughed or verbally abused these very ill men and women? It happens all the time, no wonder we are silenced.

 Coming out publically with a mental illness is a risk that only you can take. I took that risk years ago and to this day I do not regret it. Still I have faced the things I have mentioned above. I have lost friends, family and trust of employers. Yet I continue to be proud of who I am, a man living with Mental Illness. To break the silence I had to speak out and tell the world who I was. But that is not enough, I have to also protect the dignity of others who still or may never have a voice. If I just live my life, take my meds and quietly live my life I am helping to stigma fester in a vacuum of ignorance and muting others.  Ending the silence begins with ALL of us, ill or not we can make some noise and break down some of the stigma.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"The Drugs Tell Me, Hey Why Not Eat That" " Psych Meds & Weight Gain"

yup this is my belly

 This mental Health week I am going to talk about another aspect of Stigma facing people living with mental illness. This is a topic most people can relate to weight gain, and this weight gain is a direct effect of a lot of the medications we take.

  Estimates are that 20% of North Americans are on some form of Psychoactive medication for a mental illness. Ranging from depression to severe schizophrenia these meds do a couple of insidious things surrounding our metabolism and eating. One of the worst culprits is Seroquel a atypical antipsycotic that is used for the above mentioned disorders and more as a mood stabilizer. A lot of us will trade in mental wellbeing for some weight gain. But in women it is the number one reason why they go off their meds and return to being ill. So why do the TV shows like Oprah, The Doctors, Dr Sanja Gupta etc not talk about this? This is a major compoent for 20% of North America's Obesity problem yet their is silence. And will not sell diet books, or other shilled bullshit.

  When you walk and stare at a fat person on the street it just may be meds they are taking so they can lead a productive and healthy life. So this is a indirect stigma facing those of us living with mental illness. If you are living with mental illness and have or are gaining weight try to understand that the meds are keeping you healthy.

 Discuss  drug caused midnight carb loading, with your doctor and friends, try to know it is not your or my fault. I was once on a drug that put 70lbs on me in 3 months. Now I am on meds that have added some girth to my already girthy body , yet I would rather be wider than crazier.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Put on Your Tin Foil Hat for Mental Health Awareness Week '10

It is October, the smell of fallen leaves the chill of winter is starting to show it's face and it is the begining of the Ugly Holiday Sweater season, God give us strength  it is also Mental Health Awareness Week.

 This week we can all speak out and work to lower the Stigma that living with a Mental Illness carries, we can also show the humanity, humor of living with or living with someone with a mental illness. I am putting my tinfoil hat this week and will write every day with a story, hopefully humorous about my live and my fight with Bipolar and General Anxiety Disorder.

 I am already out of the rubber closet so my goal this week is the help reduce stigma and maybe help someone have the courage to fight their own fight. The only way we can reduce the fear about Mental Illness is to speak about it, frankly, enmass and yes in some cases with some humor.

 This is also the week I will unveil my idea for a ribbon/pin to show support for mental health stigma reduction so stay tuned for that madness it is sure to be polarizing just like me.

So lets all put on our Tin Foil Hats, celebrate who we are for a moment while educating others and spend a quick seven days to take a bite out of Mental Health Stigma.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"The Speed of The Sound of Loneliness"

    I have a default switch in my head and that is to be alone, to sit in my own shit like some fucking happy baby with that same bewildered look in my eyes. Yes I do like to some degree being alone, it is comfortable and easy like a old shoe. I also long for companionship a best friend. My close friends are scattered across the globe, the ones I can always go to when I am sitting staring into the rabbit hole and thinking, "Why Not?"  Yes I call them and that does help but it still feels like I am prisoner in my own loneliness and only allowed to have contact by phone.

 I miss my J.J. as she was my companion not just a wife but a friend alway able to find a way to take my mind off things long enough to let my crazy ass head spool down long enough for me to catch my breath. I have other friends who do the same. I miss these folks.

 The title of this post is a song from "John Prine" & "Nanci Griffith" , the speed of the sound of loneliness is fast and quiet and to me the more I feel alone the more I want to isolate.  I fight it and that fight is exhausting me, today If I could have only one thing that would stop the sound of loneliness  if just for a moment would be to have a day with J.J. back just walking or sitting in bed and watching bad TV.

  I am lonely / isolated and in some ways more than ever before. Will I be ok? Only time will tell, will I come out the other side less sensitive to my feelings of loneliness and fears of abandonment. Who Knows? I know today I am not doing well, I also know that I am working on theses things and my rational mind knows that is a step back from the edge of my rabbit hole.

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Nice Sofa Let's Chat My Beginnings of Therapy"

For years I have had Psychiatric care received meds for my Bipolar disorder but I have been resistant to therapy. I could sit here and tell you lots of witty reasons why I avoided therapy, like men with ironic shrink beards and lady shrinks in linen and smelling of incense and carob bars. These amusing and accurate as they might be are not the reason I avoided therapy.

  Therapy is forcing me to look at myself, deep into myself into my life's dark scary corners. And once I see what is in my rabbbit warren of a emotional life like some mental colonoscopy do something about it and work to build skills to bypass my behaviors and become a better healthier person. This scares the crap out of me, plain and simple, there are things in my life that I do not want to revisit or discover for that matter. But I am also at a place where if I do not, there is no way I can get to be a healthier person. I must take this step forward I have no choice the only other choice I have to spend the rest of my life alone an emotional dead zone for myself or anyone around me and really that is a death sentence to a person living with mental illness.

 Without therapy a person living with mental illness can never really be "Well" is what I am discovering and thus without therapy all the meds in the world are a waste of my liver function.

 If I seem not as talkative or more distant than normal for awhile, please understand that this process is new for me and it is opening up old wounds some I never even knew I had. So please be as patient as you can or willing to be with me, this is not a fast fix and I will not change overnight. All I can say is that I will remain the kind, gentle man you know.

Monday, September 20, 2010

"Badger Goes Mental Tips & Tricks For Living With Depression"

 Living with the depression axis of Bipolar or If you live with Depression alone can be a chore. I can easily find myself wanting to do little more than stay naked in bed all day and surf the internets between sleeping, smoking and eating fried foods. Medication can put most if not all of my symptoms on holiday in Mexico but while I am recovering there are tasks I discovered will keep me from now showering for days and eating my way through a 7-11 at 2 am.

  1. I must get up each day, that mean up not naked under my duvet with my netbook. Up means somewhat vertical.
  2. Clean my place and keep it clean. When I am sick I let my place go, this just feeds my depression or mania. I know straighten up every day in an attempt to create some kind of mental muscle memory.
  3. Get Dressed, yes putting on clean clothes will always make me want to go out or at least not crawl back into my fore mentioned duvet naked. 
  4. Go for a walk even if it is just for 10 minutes, why because I am not naked under my duvet or on top of it depending on the weather.

 these are just some things that work for me, I no longer use my computer from bed if my back can take it. My bed is for sleep not for twitter. I suffer insomnia which is common, so creating a work space that I use my computer at makes me feel somewhat productive.

 I know these are hard and or impossible when deep in your or my depression and I would be a asshole to tell anyone to do all these things when sick. Yet when in recovery or when you are starting to feel not quiet right this little things do make a difference.