Saturday, July 31, 2010

" Easy to Hate Not Easy To Love 28 Years of Being Nuts Around People"

When I was 16 I was finally diagnosed Bipolar, and by all accounts and familial witness statements it was about time. My crazy coming out was not some cryptic Zapruder film like moment replayed over and over again by my loved ones and family. It was a wildly known fact.

   I was and still am not easy to Love for most and I am still easy to hate for some but not all. I am sure a lot of people can say that, hell no one is perfect or everyones friend, that is just too creepy to imagine just look and Tony Robbins and you will understand. But I come with a list of optional emotional accessories that would put a new car dealer to shame. Piggybacking on my illness are a whole host of psycho-social issues that makes being close to me at times difficult. I am also very outspoken a gift I received at age 17 from my grandfather once I found my voice and my shyness ebbed away.

 By behavior has left a wake of emotional detritus behind me and I have burned bridges, almost exclusively personal bridges, maybe because my profession tended to attract folks like me and they can tolerate a lot of shit. I am not mean, despite the tenor of my posts, tweets and conversations. I get that a lot and I can be very polarizing, which I am very aware of and a lot of you know. But I am actually sweet, for those who get to know me. But there is the rub, I do not let many people in, I let you in the yard, on the porch but in the house that I am not so good at (See Fear of Abandonment).

  So who the fuck likes me? I was lucky to be married to a wonderful woman over a decade. She hated me too at first when she did not know me and only agreed to a date to get me out of her hair. She was an amazing woman, with a huge capacity to Love, Forgive, Tolerate and most of all a sense of humor. She let me love her first, that was one of the keys, because only then did I open my front door and let her off the porch. I am good at relationships not starting them for that very reason. I am emotionally guarded, it comes from my illness, mixed with social developmental speed bumps etc but what really matters is that I keep people away. Mrs Badger would not take that crap and firmly yet patiently coaxed me open. I did some really fucked uop shit when she was alive and she still Loved me warts and all. I always wondered how anyone could love me, I am a fucked up mess. She did, in some way I gave her something that no one else did, and all my crap was worth it, I was never abusive, I did not yell, and I still do not. I always respected her and laughed at her bad jokes. Still it was not easy, when you are away on a biz trip and you come home to find out that your husband sold all the furniture and then bought all new stuff in a manic Martha Stewart moment you have to take a second to question your relationship decisions. Still she and others stood by me and still do. I am lucky to have some long standing friendships because I am not a easy friend.

    Today in some kind of way I protect others and myself by not letting them off the porch it is by no means altruistic. I dont do anything really stupid and you are my friend my porch friend. All this changed when Mrs. Badger died. My porch got smaller my yard larger and weirder. \

 For almost 6 years now I have been in a self induced emotional exile, fearful that no one would love me, or want to be around me for more than a short while. This has added to my aura of polarization. And it is not easy to change. I am working on this very hard. it is not easy or right now natural for me, but I am working on it. My yard is getting smaller, cleared of debris and some of you are coming inside already.

 I am making new friends and this is trust me on this scary as shit, scarier than anything I have ever done before and I have done and been some scary ass places the least of which is in my own head. So to the people getting to know me and who want to get to know me better. Be patient, gentle, have a sense of humor, and I hope that you will find in me as a friend what others who have known me for years have found. I am not sure what that is, but it works for my wife and others and maybe I can add something to your lives that makes it a little better.

 loving someone is never blind, it is just love. loving someone living with a mental illness is not easy but for some worth the trip. It may not be me, but it could be someone else. This post was one of the hardest I have written as to admit you are easy to like sucks. But the time was right. I hope you all can open your doors and let those screaming people off your porch the noise is driving me nuts.......................

Friday, July 30, 2010

"Smoke, Smoke Smoke That Cigarette! Badger Battles Nicotine"

 I have smoked since I was 16, the sweet Virgina Albatross around my neck has been with me in some way on and off mostly on for now almost as long as some of my friends have been alive. I did not grow up thinking I would be a slave to this and that is even when you were not a social leper for smoking, nope I hated them when I was young.
  Both my parents smoked, and they did it a lot, my dad smoked really light cigarettes and my mum really heavy ones, they both eventually quit growing tired of them and poof just quit. Me it is another story.

 In some ways the cigarette has been my Smokey binky for years a nicotine filled pacifier fed to me graciously by farmers from the southern US and lobbyists in DC. I used to enjoy them, love them, they were my best friend, a companion that never let me down, took care of me when I was stressed and was always there, always. It is first and foremost an addiction one that if you never had you really will have a hard time getting your fresh aired head around.

   I will give you and idea how bad this addiction really is. I am a educated, well raised if somewhat yes gutter minded man. But still I am was raised well. So why is it that when I have been out of smokes and poor did I scavenge other peoples butts off the sidewalk for me to get my fix. I have never eaten out of a trash can, nor done anything for any other addiction. Yet these little white straws of pleasure will make me do things that I normally would find repulsive.

 When I entered hospital last month my Dr. who was very very anti me or anyone puffing the paper dick convinced me to try and quit. I have been on the patch, gum, lozenges for about a month now and have done pretty damn well. I was a pack to two pack a day smoker, in the last month I have smoked 10 maybe 15 cigarettes. It really is a miracle, because as friends can attest I get a little homicidal when I need my albatross back around my neck and to this day no emotional body count.

 I want to quit  I am tired of it, and yes I still feel the draw of my old Virgina farmer who yells in my damaged mind, "Steve I am your friend, fuck them all, I make you feel OK". I am out of hospital and not fully back to where I want to be emotionally, and when I am stressed, sad, fuck in any emotional state other than happy I crave a smoke. I had one this morning, and felt dirty, felt like I let myself and my friends down.

 I will tweet my daily cave ins as transparency for me is important in quiting, and I hate to fail. This is one of the hardest things I have ever done, seriously it is hard. I am dedicated to this now. I may fall down a lot but I am me and that is par for the course.

"What Makes The Badger's Mind Smile"

 It has been a trying month, I have been jump started more times than a Chrysler K-Car in Juno in January and my brain no longer qualifies for it's energy star rating. I have tossed and turned on plastic piss proof pillows, lived in a constant fear of jello and fought to recover a bit of sanity. Still I try and be upbeat, funny and involved in life. Today I was poking around in my grey matter and seeking what makes my mind smile. In the face of emotional and physical uncertainty what do I believe in? I did what I never do and made a list. Indulge me if you please?

  • I believe dogs smile, and do so for our happiness
  • I know that Black Cod is mana from Jebus
  • Tenderness is too underused and under appreciated
  • I actually do like people
  • Today's expectation is Tomorrow's resentment 
  • Talking to Strangers is not only fun, it make the world slower and that is good.
  • I do not need to be alone.
  • We only have 16 functional hours in a day and micro-managing everything or trying to fucks up your day.
  • Raccoons and skunks make me smile..a lot. 
  • When I feel like adult life is beating me down I try to see the world through the eyes of a child.
  • Dr Pepper makes coke it's bitch.
  • Life is not fair but life can still be good.
  • Constantly Surprised by the kindness of others
  • Life is not static so expecting emotions to be is like pissing in the wind.
  • Do not be afraid to tell someone you Love them. It has a wonderful effect on your day and maybe just maybe theirs.
  • never ever ever forget that it is ok to fuck up.
  • Be Loyal to your Beliefs not Brands
  • Life Coaches, Gurus, Self Appointed Shamans, and other like minded folk are idiots and deserve to be mocked. 
  • No one is more important than anyone else.
  • The only perfect person is a perfect asshole.
These are just a few of the things I believe they are not self theology they ebb flow and change as the world I live in changes me. I am not complete nor do I wish to be I just seek, peace, love, fun and knowledge. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Type B Personality With Type A Issues" "When Nurture & Nurture Collide"

 I am a poster boy for Type "B" personality and pretty much have been most of my life. This is not without the hard work of having two very Type "A" parents. Both very much so yet both very different in their execution of said traits. My Dad a laid back Workaholic with a great gift for humor and a love of total relaxation. You would only have to wait til summer or a holiday in warm climes to witness his almost werewolf like transformation. Dad at the beach was literally a "Bum" , proof of which was his sailor hat with the brim cut off that made him look like some freckled "Village Person cum Gilligan", a sight to behold. But off the beach and off weekends and holidays he worked his ass off, and instilled in me that if you do not work hard you are not a man. ( This is why it is so hard for me to value myself now that I am on disability ) . It is odd because he never judged anyone he just held himself and his family up to a higher standard.

 I inherited my Dad's zest for life and humor, it was one of his greatest gifts to me, along with a love of nature, animals, food, and Show Tunes. He is a big part of my Type "B" side, Even as a driven professional man he always saw things in perspectives, he valued the simple things and saw the simple beauty around him. He never complicated beauty, love, or humor, they just were to be admired, tended to and  enjoyed.

 My Mum was a Type "A"  she was a loving and tireless supporter of me even when it was not easy to do so. She also could worry the paint off of a battleship. Mum was Neurotic and a hoarders worst nightmare. They say "Neurotics build castles in the sky, Psychotics live in those  castles. My Mum cleaned those castles!! Her war on clutter was famous, as was her organization skills. She was a manager in her soul, she managed everything and anything to the point of my endless frustration. Yet she was kind, gentle and giving like no one else I have ever known personally.

 I somehow came out of this cacophony of  nuttiness as a Type "B" , I am not a big worrier, nor am I a neat person. I am a fairly laid back person who can see beauty around him without it being a chore. I live for fun and like to make fun for others. I also have some Type A issues that lurk under my twisted shell.

 I do not sweat the big stuff, I know what I can and cannot control. But my Mums gift to me was driving myself and others batty about the small stuff, like if she was obsessively  cleaning the neurotic detritus in my brain. It is little things that drive me batty and make me stay up at night unable to sleep. I need a roomba for my brain to sweep up the crap that I should not worry about so much.

 I see more of my mum in me these days, she tends to come for a visit when I have been sick. I love the person that my Mum was and anyone who really knew her knew her kindness and her nuttiness, but she does not do well alone in my brain., nor does my Dad for that matter. I am just seeking balance is all.

Balance has been difficult for me of late. When I was healthy, working, productive I was a good mix of enough of each of my folks but not too much other either one. I will beat myself up for being ill and not working because that is my dad talking. But I will be easy on anyone else in a difficult situation. Like my mum I can manage other peoples issues with them better than my Dads side can deal with those same issues within me.

 There is room for, my Dad, my Mum and what makes me uniquely Steven in me. I just need to find that balance and not let the neurosis of any of them take command, because alone in my head anyone of them left to their own devices can get uglier than seeing your grandma on chat roulette.

To Quote my late wife, " Steven living with you is like watersking behind a aircraft carrier" Sometimes waterskiing is fun.

"The Badger is Mental" " Home is Where You Hang Your Straight Jacket"

 I little over a month ago I was sitting where I am right now on my bed, but what is different now then a month ago is I no longer wish to jump out my window. The depressive side of my Bipolar disorder was on a field trip of which I did not sign the permission slip. Mental Illness for so many is a subject that you do not speak openly about never mind in such a public forum as the internets or twitters. It is usually a secret kept by families and close friends or whispered about at Thanksgiving dinner.

  I have pretty much been open and out about my trials battling this, but not always. I have been out to friends and family, co-workers for years, but I never would have imagined where I would go with it publicly like I have. In the past month I have blogged from the Psych Unit at Burnaby General Hospital, spoken at Vancouver mental Health Camp, Discussed E.C.T. to anyone who would listen and a lot who would not. I am not fully healed yet but I am on the road, partially because I have been so open.

 At times I have been called flippant, in my humor and been accused of not taking Mental  Health Seriously. Again for years the world has for the most part put people living with mental health issues into narrow boxes, portrayed as, dangerous, or worse less than. I have tried to use humor sometimes in bad taste to document my journey from the edge to somewhere near baseline. I hoped that doing so would make my story easier to swallow for some, more human and less clinical to others. A lot of us IMHO have at some point had or will have contact personally with someone who is living with Mental Illness and humor can break down walls and stigma, it is who I am and I will not stop. I may not be who or what some folks see as a healthy voice for stigma and Mental Health, but it is who I am and most likely will not  change. I will still speak out, still us off colour humor and will still be me, love me or hate me that is that.

 Now I need to take a moment to thank some of the people who in this  past month saved me spiritually, mentally and physically. I may not have remembered all of you but I will thank you in person. The selfless manner in which people I know well and those I barely know have come to my side has been remarkable, from simple emails, texts, comments, tweets to literally coming and physically stopping me from making big mistakes in judgement. I am forever changed by this outpouring of true Love and Compassion. Here are just a few of the wondrous selfless souls whom I cannot ever repay;

First of all "The Millers" Derek & Airdrie who showed me what being unselfish is all about. And not just them
                  Their lovely daughters who also welcomed me into their home and made me smile.
                  Also in the same family Derek your parents are the best always making me feel like more than just
                  your friend.
                 Stacey Robinsmith whom I barely know yet came to my aide when i needed most.
                 John Mcteague , You are my dear friend and confidant and proof that "Concerts" folks always
                  look out for each  other.
                  Corinna & Adam Carlson, While fighting your own battles you always had time for me.
                  Kimli Welch , Your humor and deep kindness made me smile when I could not on my own.
                 Monica Hamburg & Chris Lemay. again two more genuine people I can barely say.
                  Cathrine Winters, Thank you for looking out for me, and sending help my way when I needed it.
                  Stephanie Cameron You my dear also may have saved me from myself on a very dark day, I will
                  never forget you for it.
                  Anthony Whitrock you sir are a gentleman's gentleman and anyone would be lucky to call you a        friend  .

                  Raul & Isabella both of you trusted me to speak at mental health camp and provided solace when |                 I needed it. You were caring and professional seeing past some controversy surrounding me and understood   that my voice was important to me and maybe i hope others.

                   To Val & Val, two great  ladies who live in my building and I am honored to call friends.

                   I could go on forever here because there are so many of you. I will take the time in the next few days to thank you all personally, just know you all made a difference in this badgers life.        

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Revenge Justice? Punishment Justice? or Treatment? Criminal Insanity an Opinion"
Today on the Twitters I entered into a discussion on Criminal Insanity / Mentally Not Responsible pleas. Violent crime is horrible and too often it's victims are women or children and in most cases the person who commits these heinous crimes are capable of knowing right from wrong. They can determine that what they have done is wrong. In fewer cases this is not true, the person who commits a violent act upon another person is unaware or cannot intellectually or emotionally connect that what they have done is wrong.
   Extreme delusions mixed with, paranoia and add in hearing voices telling you to do things you would not normally do cannot be seen as "A person with a little depression who gets a get out jail free card" One that is insulting to those of us who live with Mental Illness every day and do not commit crimes and it is unfair to someone who is very very ill and does commit a crime.
  The Insanity plea is the and rightfully so the hardest plea in the legal system to prove and fail more than it works. Once someone is found no responsible because of mental illness, they are remanded to a forensic psych hospital ( a mental hospital for criminals ) for a undetermined set of time. Some people eventually get released. One of the most famous modern criminally insane cases is the John  Hinckley Jr.  case he shot president Reagan and is still in hospital though he can visit his mother 6 days at a time.

    People want to see someone pay for a crime it is not wrong to seek justice, but sometimes justice does not come in a pretty little box for us to enjoy. Sometimes justice is someone who is ill and not safe for society to spend their life in a secure hospital setting. The Mentally Ill in  prisons are continued to be victimized by other inmates and often fall victim to crimes worse than the ones they commit. I steer away from the Revenge model of justice and punishment, it for one is not a healthy way to think, but it is not a deterrent to violent crimes . People who want to kill another human being rarely thinks, "Hmm will i get life or the chair? maybe a hospital? "  No they think about killing someone, and sometimes it is a illness that drives them to commit these crimes.
 Are they innocent , maybe not but should they if not responsible and ill not get treatment? It is not a easy discussion to have but if talking about mental health and stigma, crime, punishment has to be discussed. Also we cannot lump everyone into the same straight jacket. I have Bipolar disorder but I am not violent and I know right from wrong. But some people do not and because of this should not go to prison.
  Also here in Canada someone who commits a murder will probably get paroled years before a person in a forensic hospital gets released. So for some people they think prison life is different from forensic hospital life not really both are locked up not allowed to go free. prisoners can work in prison patients in forensic hospital cannot. prisoners can get personal TV, fridges, and patients cannot. Life for the forensic prisoner is rough and not a holiday.  It takes a peaceful heart to seek punishment and not vengeance, to see humane treatment and not warehousing.  

Friday, July 23, 2010

Badger Gone Mental "The Not So Mental Badger"

 On Monday I will be having my final E.C.T. treatment and will most likely be discharged. So what does this all mean to me? How do I feel? Will I miss the piss proof pillow? These and more questions beg to be answered, to me anyway.  I have been here in "Happy Acres" for a month now, not a easy place to be for anyone. Hospital for all it's best laid plans of being a stress reducer, can be stressful, even though I have still not seen any Jello.

  Now I wonder whats next for me. I am still filled with doubt, and fear. I am not fully recovered yet, my mind is still teeming with my depression and anxiety, albeit nowhere near as severe as when I arrived here. Some of the things that dog me are, "what is my purpose now?", "Can I be whole again or am  I now damaged goods?" I need to find a direction again in my life, some focus. I may now work to assist Mental Health, agencies, groups and providers to access and use social media.

  I know a few things for sure, I could not have gotten through this without the remarkable, love, compassion, friendship of so many people and I hope they will still allow me to lean on them for emotional support while I continue to heal and get my "Sane" legs back.  Very few people who leave a psych inpatient unit is fully well when they leave. We are just past the crisis stage of our illness and there is more work to do. Both with my medical doctors, and my therapist.

 My journey is still ongoing, this is a new yet revisited chapter, in my life long battle with Mental Illness. I still have a weekend and a couple of days left here and more stories about my life.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Badger Gone Mental Day 30, "Held Hostage By My Health"

 I have now been in the hospital for a month yup one month, it sometimes feels like a lifetime and other times like a blur. Time not withstanding, I needed to be here as my brain when it goes of the reservation it is not a pretty place. I have been lucky that this time I did not leave a trail of horror behind me like some emotional paddle wheel boat. I have in the past hurt those who care the most for me and also myself. As much as I kid living with Bipolar disorder is not a joke, there are days like today that start great and end in me wanting to disappear.

   These feelings are attached to my depression and anxiety and play in the same sand box as my PTSD and fear of abandonment. When I am healthy they live quietly in a corner of my brain content to stay there and play with each other. When I am ill they go stir crazy wanting to show off to everyone they see. I only have 3 maybe 4 ECT treatments left. I am beginning to feel them work and hope the remaining ones matched with my increased medication will bring me back to the person I am and that the people who care about me know and love. I am not there yet.

   The one thing that is still raging in my rat brain is that I am now worthless, useless a burden to all. I  am not writing this to try and get the Äww you are valuable comments, it is  really how I feel inside. I am not working and currently on disability  for my cancer, I cannot work, but I want to work. For years what defined me was my job, my career, I loved getting up each day to work. I know crazy huh? I was blessed to work in a field I am passionate about. Now that is gone, maybe forever, what use am I what do I contribute to the world. maybe I can think about what can I contribute to the world? I am just not there yet. I see people on transit going to and from work and it makes me sad and angry. I am hoping there is a place in the world for me because I am fighting real fucking hard to stay in it...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


"The Badger's Billing Cycle Has Passed if I was a Mobile Phone Comp."

Today I have been in hospital for a month, so it seems my billing cycle is up and will now charge the Nurses roaming fees for when they are at lunch or gossiping and not attending to the badgers many needs. Their unlimited data plan is over as it was introductory and now I will charge them anything over 500mb of data, this includes but not limited to;

  • "How are We feeling today comments"
  • The 900th time they walk by my room screaming breakfast like some medical Paul Revere.
  • Why are you not married?
  • "Why do you read so much and not come out and play cards?
If they want to upgrade to new Patient they must first give me a private room, daily foot rubs, and access to a mini bar. 

 Seriously it has been a month and I am beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel, lets hope it is not a train or a midget with a flashlight. I have had 4 E.C.T. treatments without major side effects, and my mood has increased around 45% I am turning the corner. I will need maybe 4-5 more treatments and should be out at the end of next week or mid-week the following.

 I need to take a second to thank everyone who has supported me through this process in my life, and most of you barely know me yet have shown me such kindness and humanity. I will personally thank all of you when I am out, the list is long, very long. Thank you as well to everyone whom I do not know who reads my blog or follows me on Twitter. I am also moved by your words of encouragement. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tick Tock Tick Tock, The Badger, Depression & Time, Lots of Time"

 As I stumble closer to being in Hospital for a whole month some things are becoming clear to me, as clear as that can be through the eyes of myself whilst sitting here trying to get well. I am a very paitent man believe it or not. Being a type B non-linear  thinker helps in situations like this. Some may doubt my type b-ness  because I can be a big personality, but those who really know me see that.
  Still I have been here 3 days shy of a month. To put that in perspective that is a Billing Cycle for your HD cable  service. My depression is still playing games with my head, it is still telling me I am worthless that no one really wants to be near me that I will not recover and be sick now forever. My rational mind knows it is not true but my ill mind believes it.
  i am also scared the ECT will flip me into Mania putting me into a state that I fear. When I really am the Badger 24/7 and I work real hard to destroy all around me. But I am in a safe place getting good care. I am still trying to get my netbook approved on the ward. I have been here a fucking month, they can at least throw me a bone or maybe some airmiles...

 I am still feeling extreme loneliness as well as I am still at times feeling the effects of the effects of last week, My ability to trust has been stretched not broken just stretched leaving me feeling exposed and raw.

 There is a chance that I could be here another month as my treatments are twice a week instead of three times a week. I am hoping this is not the case. If so I will get more overnight passes and will get to spend more time with friends and less with some of the bitchy nurses.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

"The Day The Badger was Almost on a Milk Carton"

 This afternoon for the first time in my life I felt my life was in danger from another person who is living with mental illness. I am actually at the time of this writing still shaken up by the experience. I will explain the events of this afternoon, they are in no way saying that all people living with mental illness are dangerous they are not. Nor was this person knowingly being dangerous it was just her illness and she is very ill right now.

  When I first came on the ward i met some other patients as you do. Being somewhat social is important and I have in the past met some wonderful people in the psych ward. Good people can get  sick . So when this person whom I met and had been discharged asked me if I wanted to go get a Dr. Pepper ( which is a weakness for me) I shrugged and said sure. At the time of her discharge see seemed healthier and responsible. As soon as we were driving, the wheels fell off this trip and she swtiched.

 Now bipolars and people with schizophrenia can be delusional and hear voices or think they are being told or controlled bu outside people. It can seem scary to people, I am used to it for the most part and understand where it is coming from. BUT!!!!!

 \When you are in the passager seat of a car screaming down city streets at speeds up to 100mph and you are being told ."I am rescuing you they are trying to stop your brain from  growing with the ECT."  and "I know you were raped too in there everyone is" you get a little worried. As she drove I kept asking her to return me to the hospital and she would not, Only driving faster and harder whilst telling me more about her spirit self and how I needed to be saved.

 She finally drove me back to hospital after around 35 minutes of this which seemed like hours, and I quickly told the nursing staff, then filled out a report for the RCMP. and chewed on two pieces of nicotine gum. bad day to stop smoking. I settled down but was still nervous coming to the cafe to use my netbook.

 While I had this experience I need to point out that this young lady is ill, very ill and needs help. She is highly educated, a accomplished athlete and from a good family. Just her mental illness is controlling her life right now. I wish her no harm, I only hope she can find help before a tragedy happens that no hospital or med can take care of.
 I know kind of understand the terror a person feels when they are abducted, or held against their will. It is a scary place that I would not like to visit or wish on anyone. I have also witnessed the power of the mind when it is in runaway mode, and at the peak of Mania. Concerned as well that this young lady was able to fool the staff into thinking she was healthy enough to leave when it is obvious she was not. This places can and are sadly a revolving door. I have seen three people leave and return so far in my short stay. They can get us stable but not make us take our meds. Some people need a greater support system, helping them understand why taking meds if you need them is important also watching behavior when discharged from hospital.

 I dont think she would have harmed me but we could have had a serious accident that could have killed us or others. Will I  jump in the car with another patient , nope I learned my lesson and even I can be too trusting.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

E.C.T. Part Duex "Shock The Badger"

 Hello again folks, did yah miss me? I am back still in hospital but back blogging all the same. As you may or may not know I have been waiting for E.C.T. (Electro Convulsive Therapy) for a couple of weeks now. It seems that it has been booked solid. It is easier to get into a New York City hot spot on a Saturday night wearing flip flops, a I Love NY tee-shirt and mesh shorts than to get ECT here in Vancouver.

  So this made me think, and you know it is dangerous when I think. back to my thought now. If ECT is so booked up how come you never hear about it or know someone who has had it? You would think someone would talk? Right? Well in my opinion there are two reasons why you never hear about it and the big one is once again "Stigma", yes the word of the month and rightfully so. You can go to a party, event gathering and hear people talk about i took Zoloft, or my wife takes Prozac. I have overheard many a conversation on the manic need for carbs from Seroquil. But you never hear, "Hey I just finished a course of ECT now I am going to Disneyland like some bad Pharma Advert.
 It is because ECT carries a stigma, not only the horrific media stigma like from film, but also the stigma that it is used for the worst of the worst. The most dangerous mental health patients. These myths and urban ledgends keep darkness and silence on the fact that ECT is a common and widely used treatment for, Depression, Mania, and Parkinsons, yup folk even Parkinsons. People who get it are afraid others will judge them for it, like employers who would not bat an eye if you took Prozac but get a little electricity and bamm you are unclean and untouchable.  So we keep quiet, but not me figures. And if you look on the googles it is full of modern horrific tales of ECT gone bad and little positive. The net loves bad stories and maybe people who have good experiences just go on with their lives without feeling the need to youtube their asses off.

 There is also the Pharma industry they have a profit motive for not talking about ECT they sell drugs, lots of them. And in a lot of cases ECT lowers the amount of drugs you must take. So they do not like that they want to sell more drugs. I am not saying Pharma is bad, a lot of people are alive because of Big Pharma friends, family and myself included. What I am saying is ECT is kept quiet a dirty little secret.

 So if someone starts talking about depression or meds at a event or party tell them you know someone who had ECT and i worked great for them and it is not cruel, does not lobotomize you or make you vote Republican . It is another tool in managing mental health, and you can think of it as a kinda natural way, no chemicals, like the "Whole Foods" vegan form of Mental Health Care. Seriously though lets help reduce stigma everywhere in Mental Health and not just on the topics and treatments we like.

Monday, July 12, 2010

MY Health Comes First "Badger takes a Blog Siesta"

Hi everyone after my mental health took a downward spiral yesterday I will not be blogging every day for now. Please understand and stay tuned as I will resume as soon as it is healthy and emotionally safe to do so. I am ok, still in hospital. Thank you to the people who just may have stopped me from doing harm to myself last night. I was in a bad space and with out you who knows.

See you all soon thanks for reading, The Badger is Out but not gone.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

"Mental Health Camp 2010 My View after a Nap"

 Yesterday I attended and spoke at Mental Health Camp 2010 in Vancouver and after a long need sleep after an emotional day here is what I saw, experienced and learned from the event. I will not mention my session or the panel I was on after this sentence as the event was not about "ME"  in the manner of what I did or did not contribute. It was about did the event serve the community, by community I mean people living with, loving with and working with Mental Illness?

 For me I saw and experienced people who are passionate about this community, seeking to lower the stigma that still effects us some of daily. I was lucky to meet a lovely young lady who was recently diagnosed with the same thing I have and who moved me with here courage to attend such a public event and not only  "Be"there but to actively participate. I also learned from here as well. So you can teach an old badger new tricks.

 I too was impressed with the people who work in Mental Health Care and Advocacy to participated and were excited on how social media can be used to help them and their clients communicate in the age of digital media.

 We know we are preaching the choir and converted but that is not the issue in this still young event. We are also trying to inspire others to work to educate, live better lives with and end the Stigma surrounding Mental Illness. At the end of the day it does not matter what did not work perfect, or other petty ego driven bull shit. It is about people plain and simple.

 I enjoyed meeting so many new faces, i was moved to be supported by so many friends who came out and was honored to collaborate with my peers. I want to Thank Issabella, and Raul for organizing the event, to all the volunteers who make events like these possible and without them I would not have had a cookie, i joke but they made to day possible. I would also like to thank all the other speakers I heard and to thank Airdrie Miller who idea seeded this still growing and new event.

  Mental Health is a personal journey that we must at time walk alone but we also need others to truly live with and cry with, laugh with and understand with.......

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 15 Of The Badger Goes Mental " Two Week Still No Jello"

 It has been two weeks that the intrepid Badger has been on the Psych ward. Whilst all of you have been laying over night in your own moisture I am comfy on my plastic piss proof mattress in air conditioned bliss. Sure I am in a bowl of fruit loops but since I am one of them it is ok.

 My depression is still fucking with me as I have yet to get a date on starting my ECT as they are booked up, it seems ECT is trending here in Burnaby. I also cannot do out patient as my neck is  too large and I could have problems breathing so I have to be in a recovery room to have my brain tickled. it seems that I am a fat badger  I have also still only had two smokes since Monday a feat that is only out done by putting a man on the Moon and the success of American Idol.

 Sometimes when you are in hospital all you can focus on is "You" makes  sense right? well this frustration is not seen by the staff who have 100s of things to worry about. So my anger get up. I want to give up on treatment and go home to wallow. I just met with a internist who said, "You do not look like someone who is depressed and needs ECT" He cannot see my mind or maybe does not understand that for moments I can be happish only to retreat to my depression moments later.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day14 Of The Badger Goes Mental " Your Child Arrived & Other Stigma"

 Hello all and thank you for hanging in there with me while I sort my brain out here in The Burnaby Brain Spa.  Yesterday was a mixed bag My mood went on a unexpected side trip from, Depression to Anger, to a bit of food and friend induced happiness, to raging anger, sadness and disappointment. It was like my brain and mood decided to visit every country in some emotional EPCOT.

    STIGMA! one of my pet peeves especially from health care providers and the other night whilst the Badger  was waiting for his evening nommy meds at the nurses station. I overheard this comment from one nurse to another verbatim.  "You New Child Has Arrived" this was in reference to a new Adult Patient being admitted. I did tell the other nurse I found that offensive and she agreed in a kind of placating manner. I am sure if i was not there or overheard it she would not have been bothered by it. We are NOT CHILDREN we are adults many older than the nurses helping us, It is absolutely never OK to refer to us as children. As Derek said to me at the BC Cancer agency he would never be referred to as pukey.

   It is hard enough to fight stigma in the public forum without dealing with it when we are at our most vulnerable in hospital.

 I was also on the receiving end of some personal stigma last night, and if it were not for the help of some folks I trust it may have sent me over the anger edge. I will chalk that event up to personal crap and leave it alone. Today I will not own this anger because if I pick it up and play with it the anger will become toxic and eventually poison my emotional well and all whom I care about who drink from it.

 I will attempt to have a even better day and on my quitting smoking program I have only had 2 cigarettes in three days and if you know me that is a miracle of Moses proportions  and i have not killed anyone.......yet
Go out and enjoy your day tell someone you Love Them and be nice to a stranger....

                                                                                            Love The Badger

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 11 of The Badger Goes Mental, "Poor Sleep, Fjords, Poor Tacos"

  I slept like crap last night, maybe it was because of the dip in my depression, maybe having a new roommate who may or may not want to eat my spleen like he threatened this morning to do. I know it is his illness but when a guy who is staying where I am staying says, " You look evil, next time you sleep I will eat your insides" you take note. But back to my sleep, sometimes depression makes me want to do nothing else but sleep, this time, as it turns out when I have nothing but nothing to do I cant sleep at all, Meh... Just when I think I can get a handle on understanding my depression it pulls out a new "feature & Benefit" like some mental health salesman on commission,  last night I even took two imovain a sleeping pill like "Ambian" and nothing poop just nothing. The first time  I took one of these it was more than half the does and I feel asleep at the kitchen table for 8 hours only to awake to the laughter of my wife and the lady in the loft next door who she snuck in to get a peek at my upright drooling slumber.  I hope to sleep better tonight and to wake up with a spleen and maybe a liver, i would not mind if some fat was gone liposuction is so pricey these days.

 Today I did wake feeling somewhat better and nothing makes me happier than driving, well ok I admit beer, unscrambled porn in hotel rooms and cheese make me very happy. But Driving is right up there.
It is not just driving, it spending time with friends who support me, who make me feel safe and valued who can make me laugh when I find it difficult to like myself let alone enjoy anything else. So my friend Airdrie can by to pick me up in her new fun to hoon Mazda and let me drive. She figured it was safe as I was not wearing tin foil. We drove to Squamish up the "Sea To Sky" Highway ( for all my non Vancouver readers i recommend google maps) It was a fun drive up the roads are twisty and we listened to "This American Life" a NPR treasure. Upon driving up I spotted a "Taco Bell" here in Vancouver they are harder to find than Rush Limbaugh at a Obama garden party. I wanted wait needed some taco bell badness. The food was not bad typical Taco bell but the service was tragic very much so. Three Staff and the only one really working was a Bitter German Octogenarian. Then we drove home enjoying the spectacular view of our coastal Fjords.

   This post is not directly about my mental health but in some ways it is. My depression is constant ever present and there, But when I am  with people I  feel safe around I can manage, I can see the beauty in the Fjords, The fast food goodness of Taco Bell and the enjoyment of driving twisty roads and good music. These friends unknowing and knowing make by days bearable, are like a wind that can blow a hole in this heavy fog of my depression, and when I cannot see through the fog they are my fog horn.

 I thought I had no Family left that I was now truly alone, but I am not people like The Millers and their lovely kids not to mention Derek's fantastic parents. My brother from another mother John McTeague in NY, and to so many others here in Vancouver. I now have a butt load of Fog Horns and hopefully by dawn my spleen.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 10 Of The Badger Goes Mental " Depression, Meds & Tobacco, Jebus Give Me Strength"

Sorry for the odd timed posts of late, I was finding it difficult to write every evening before bed as sometimes I want to spend time with my visitors and not feel rushed so I will now post at my leisure. My roommate is now gone sent home and I had one night alone, I successfully fought off the urge to dance, as a nurse could just walk in and see my junk in it's ungroomed glory. You see knocking before entering seems to be a issue in hospital, they just enter like your university friend in the dorm who just scored a dime bag and a copy of "Forest Hump".  A simple knock and brief pause would be civilized, and not my least favorite know whilst opening the door, who the fuck does that. In some places in Alberta or Idaho that would get you shot.

   Still battling my depression I am up I am down lately I am down more than up kinda like ATT's 3g service. So I soldier on. I have also taken the first steps in quiting smoking, I know Holy Shit!!!! The Badger is Quiting Smoking...The end times must be neigh. For a while now my smoking has been more of addiction than joy, a giant Smokey monkey on my back. The addiction to nicotine is worse than heroin and not as bad as meth but it is very tough. I have smoked for years it was my mistress always there when I needed her. She was with me when I was sad, happy, after a full tummy and after good sex. Now I sent her packing with the help of a patch and  gum. I will let you know when I commit my first homicide over a bus seat or a well done steak.

  Today I bantered around in twitter land in a discussion about meds for nuts. Taking meds is a persons right as is not taking them, it is personal decision. Unless you are a danger to you or others I feel you should never be forced to take them.  I have been on some form of  Psych med since I was 16, My liver is the Keith Richards liver of Crazy Pills I have taken them all. Some stop working for me, some made me fat, really fat, some made me dizzy. I am pretty good meds right now. The one thing I do know is the mind of someone with mental illness will tell them they feel better and, "Why Not Stop The Meds" "I Can Manage With Out Them" .... BULL SHIT... If  you are on meds and "Well" then when you are off them "Not Well" take your fucking meds if not for you for your family, friends, coworkers and random strangers. If you talk to mental health professionals you will find the number 1 reason why people return to hospital is Med Compliance they stop taking their meds. Sure there are websites that say take this supplement and you will be fine, again I call Bull Shit, a fucking banana and a pear will not change your brain chemistry anymore than walking thru a hospital makes you a doctor.

 I perfect example of the "NO MEDS" are good meds camp is the Cult Of Scientology they professes a hate towards mental health care and instead use vitamins , diet and e-meters and we know how well that seems to be working for our favorite , gay midget actor Tom Cruise. Yes diet can help to make you better yes getting off the sofa and just going for a walk releases chemicals of pleasure in your brain, But before you decide to stop taking your meds or changing your meds talk with your doctor, and consult a dietitian. because a healthy diet will make you feel better. Except in my case where I live for fried foods, organ meats and cheese

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Day 9 of The Badger Goes Mental " Party Night & Return to Ward"

 Last night the Badger escaped the ward on a pass to attend the birthday hoopla for my friend Derek @penmachine . Getting the pass was great and I got to let loose see some great friends and get pretty drunk. All in all a good time  I also met some new folks as well.
  The difficult time for me was this morning and to some extent last night. As much fun as I was having my depression was still lurking like some emotional squatter in my brain. While people laugh, drink and eat, then head home to their beds and fluffy duvets I know I am returning here to hospital, that I am not well enough to be in my own bed watching TV and smoking. I am here where yes I need to be so I can be healthy again, but it still stings. My depression tells me I am worthless, that I will never get well and that I cannot have a normal life.

  How fucked is it having these thoughts and being enlightened enough to know it is my illness talking? Fighting and living with mental illness is a war some battles you win, some you loose. You may loose some ground you fought for one day and find new ground another. I am not giving up and will not but the battle is tough today maybe tomorrow or later it will be unicorns crapping out rainbows, who knows. What I  do know is that I am a fighter, I am stubborn, I am a Badger......... Oh and still no signs of Jello so I have that going for me.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Day 8 of the Badger goes Mental, " High Anxiety for The Badger"

Today was a mix of emotions I had a welcomed early visitor Stacey Robinsmith who was at hospital with a family member and was kind enough to share a coffee and some time. Thank you Stacey. And I went out for a bit with my friend Airdrie.

   Still thru it all something was not quite right, kinda like bacon and mayo left out in the sun, or Lindsy Lohan's face. It is anxiety, i have been dogged by endless anxiety today. I am not sure why but it is there staring at me like some creepy clown, or Jello. Fuck it is driving my mood down and making me restless.

 On a helpful hint from the Bat Shit Crazy Badger. Never buy anything from a cart in a mall, it is all questionable and may cause injury or disfigurement.

 I really feel like crap so I will keep it short tonight. Have a great night all see you when I wake up and the meds kick in.

Day 8 of The Badger Goes Mental , " Emptying Trash From The Past" a Belated entry

First to all my readers I apologizes for not posting last night. I was in a uncomfortable space holding a personal secret from my past that has haunted me for years. So far I have only told two close friends my friend John Mcteague and Airdre. Some secrets haunt you, make you question your worth and value this one one of them. I was also afraid some people would not understand. It does not involve anything morally horrible like kicking kittens nor did I murder someone. Just my  own personal demon.

 Back to yesterday , still thank "The Flying Spaghetti Monster" no jello but I did get butterscotch pudding of which am like a meth addict with I scammed 6 big bowls of it's baby shit brown goodness. I also saw a patient attach another one so bad the RCMP had to come. It is very sad when a illness turns on ones brain so bad that they will harm another. On the other hand we have a lovely young woman who has been catatonic and is now watch tv with us and trying to joke around. It is this kind of experience where you see the humanity in the ward. Watching other patients helping and looking out for someone who cannot for herself. For those of you who or anyone who thinks people living with mentally illness are lazy, cold, odd, untrustable, and selfish, spend a day here and you will be proven wrong.

Tonights post will be focused on Mad Pride, so stay tuned it should be a good one!!!!