Oh Yeah, DBT!

After my last stint in the looney bin in late January/early February, I was “encouraged” to join a DBT Intensive Outpatient Program that lasted nine weeks, which I did.  It was for three hours, three times a week.  It was a very beneficial class, in that it teaches skills to use to defuse the emotionally-laden situations that Bipolars are known for.  It’s especially beneficial (so they say) for those who suffer intense suicidal ideation, which is a motherfucker of an obsession that comes and goes for me.

Once the DBT IOP ended, I gave everyone in the class my phone number and we said “let’s get together and continue studying these skills” and that promise finally came to fruition tonight!  I have to say, I am SO PROUD of the four of us who showed up!  It was so productive, and supportive to talk about where we’ve been since we finished the IOP, what’s working for us, and where we’re struggling.  I am just super-pleased with how it turned out.

Granted, we went on a lot of tangents, talking about drugs, illicit and otherwise, and other various experiences, like jail, suicide attempts, and being committed, but we managed to focus back in on what we wanted to work on without being too intense or nazi-ish.  I am glad!

After spending all day turning my home into a super-deluxe showplace, it felt really good to relax and enjoy these people.  And now I get to enjoy this shining clean house!

Tomorrow I will go for the old snap crackle & pop, my first ECT treatment in three weeks (the longest I’ve gone without a treatment since last December).  Although I think I could have used one around Monday, I’m still happy that we’re successfully spacing them out further and further.  It will be good to see Dr. BigHeart and all the staff there at the looney bin, the ECT Staff are pretty cool.  I think I’ve done ok in the last three weeks, I’ve increased my social contacts (a struggle for me) and I’ve managed not to gain any more weight, YAY!  Now if I could just go in the other direction.

See you all on the other side of the Zap!  Yeahhhhhhh!!!

Action, Action and More Action!!

Holy Shit was I a whirling dervish today!!!  I am really turning into quite the list-maker, because I like to cross things off the list and feel like I’ve accomplished something.  I am trying to navigate Colorado’s insurance marketplace, and let me tell you, it is the definition of a Cluster Fuck!  Something is $300 a month, but you have a $5000 deductible and 30% coinsurance (an ugly word that means you have to pick up 30% of the bill).  They have different classifications of drugs, Specialty drugs, Generic drugs, they all have different coverage.  And to try to figure out if ECT is covered?  Forget about it.  I called Boulder County Health & Human Services to make an appointment to talk to a health care specialist, and I had to leave a message with a promise of a call back within 48 hours.  So!  in the meantime I signed up for COBRA (continuing insurance through my former employer) and scratched out a check for almost $700.  For a MONTH!!!  Shoot me in the big toe.  That hurt.  Bad.

Off to Grill Night at Haystack Mountain Golf Course, this is a beautiful country golf course where they cook shit up on the grill and have live music, it’s a wonderful summery thing to do.  Slim Shady will be here any second to pick me up.  Oh, and I’m having over people from my DBT Group tomorrow night, so needless to say I still have a shitload of things on the list as far as spiffing up my house, but I’m excited to catch up with everyone and review some DBT Skills.  Definitely worth the study and that DBT shit has helped me through some bad mood crashes, let me tell you.

I’m going to try to fit in one more thing from the list before SS gets here, so off I go!  Peach out homies and don’t forget to eat your vegetables!  😛

Tacsun Shinowot?

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Tacsun Shinowot. Tacsun Shinowat. It’s just bouncing around in my head. It’s fun to say out loud! But who in the fuck is Tacsun Shinowat? A quick Google search reveals that Thaksin Shinawatra is the exiled Prime Minister of Thailand. Because there was a coup in Thailand, ya know? Sorry, Thaksin. But your name is so fucking fun to say! It’s a curse! Thaksin Shinawatra! It’s an accolade! Thaksin Shinawatra!  It’s an expression of sympathy! T h a k s i n    S h i n a w a t r a  .  .  .   On this Memorial Day weekend here in the US of A, I wish you all Thaksin Shinawatra.

Fucking Finances!

Oh dear. Financial fear has come to pay me a visit and it is not nice. All I can think about is the paltry few dollars I will have left in my checking account after I pay my rent. Nothing makes me crazier than worrying about money! I should have a Disability check coming in the first week of June, but I’ve gotten used to having a nice, healthy bank balance, and with the many and sundry medical bills I’ve been paying, it’s been depleted. I know, I know, I’m Miss Tapper, and I’m going to post this sucker up here and then start a Tapping marathon! I’ll let you know how it goes. Send me your positive juju, will you? Gracias. Oh, and to all those who have lost loved ones in our Armed Forces, I send you my sincere condolences and respect.

Here’s a purdy purdy picture that has nothing to do with anything.  I just like to share 🙂   This is Topsail Island, NC.

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Some Of The Action Taken…

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Some of the action taken yesterday was riding my bike, which I haven’t done since I moved here last October.  Riding my bike involved 1) Finding the air pump 2) Airing up the tires 3) Finding my helmet 4) Packing a backpack with my “good” camera and a couple of bottles of water 5) Getting my ass on the bike and GOING!  I ran into several difficulties with the execution of my plan.  My tires were too low for me to fill them up with a little hand-pump.  I had to fold the seats down in my vehicle and shove the bike in and take it to the gas station to air the tires up with the air machine.  THEN I couldn’t get to the air machine because the pavement had just been re-paved and was completely closed off.  Doh!  So I had to drive to the next town to find a gas station and an air machine, finally airing up the tires.  How much air pressure should bike tires have, I wondered.  I went with 60 psi.  So far they haven’t blown up.

At long last, I got home, got the bike out and got going.  And look at these sweet, sweet sweeties I went to see!  Four little foals and their mommies!!  I just snapped and snapped.  Takes me back to my childhood, when I lived next door to a horse ranch.  Horses smell so good!!!  What a reward for getting my shit in gear!!

Then I travelled down the road to a place called Walden Ponds and saw the first pelicans of the season.  Again I was treated to the delicious smells of the country.  If you grew up in the country, you know how good it smells.  Earth and growing things and I don’t know what else.

DSC_0020The final leg of my bike tour was the ride home, which was almost all uphill.  I am NOT in great shape.  I have been struggling through The Bar Method once or twice per week and walking as much as possible, but I have gained a lot of weight thanks to the Clozaril.  Anyhoo,  I promised myself that 1) I wouldn’t beat up on myself regarding my physical condition; and 2) That I wouldn’t stop, no matter how hard it got.  So I let myself be o.k. with going slow, and downshifting, and I drank in the beautiful scenery.  The fields are so green, the creeks are so full, there are birds flying everywhere, the sky is blue, and Spring has definitely sprung.  It was a really hard bike ride home, but I kept telling myself, out loud, “You can do it!”  and I DID IT!!!  That feels good.  Just day by day, I will work on my physical fitness, and enjoy this beautiful place where I live.  Yeah.

The Solution Is ACTION!

If you’ve ever read my blog before you may know that I am on Long Term Disability (Private, not SSDI) due to this delicious disorder we call Bipolar. One of the hardest things for me is finding meaning and purpose in my days, when I have absolutely no structure and could conceivably spend the whole day stoned out of my mind watching Snapped on the idiot box. I actually have done that a couple of times, and the depression hangover is UNREAL!!! A couple of people have inspired me to do better, and I want to cyber-kiss them right now. The first is Oh Temp who published Alternatives To Self-Destructive Acts. This was SO INSPIRING to me and I immediately started to compile my own list in my head. The second person is my friend SlimShady who is also on Disability and told me he keeps a running to-do list and requires himself to accomplish at least four items off his list each day. I have started doing that and it REALLY helps.

One of the ways in which I am really self-destructive is that I procrastinate. Right off the bat that might not seem like it’s self-destructive but for me it is, because it’s a cycle, of putting off things, then beating myself up for not doing them, then I have all this baggage about whatever the thing is, and it builds up into a wayyyy bigger thing that it really is, and I just can’t get started, and the procrastination cycle perpetuates itself. I have been using Tapping very effectively to overcome some of my bad Procrastination habits and IT FEELS SO FUCKING GOOD!!!!! YEAH! I also will catch myself starting to think the procrastinating thoughts, because it’s such a long-standing habit, and I stop myself and say to myself, “Don’t think, just act!” This circumvents the whole mind-fucking system.

I am feeling great today because I was starting to fall into the procrastination/beating up on myself pool of shit, and somehow I Tapped my way out, and did what my “Healthy Self” wanted and needed to do. I am really happy about that. Hope you all had a great Monday. Peach Out!!

EXCELLENT Shredded Chicken Burritos

A family friend’s mother just passed away a couple of days ago and so I asked if I could make her a meal, the Universal symbol of Love and Support. She made it easy on me by asking for chicken burritos. So there I go making the burritos, PRAYING that they don’t suck! Fortunately for me, I had two left over that wouldn’t fit in the pan, so I got to taste them. They were very surprisingly good so I thought I’d share the recipe! Here goes:

Ingredients:

Burrito-size flour tortillas, pkg of 8

Huge package of boneless chicken breasts (maybe 6?)

Gigantor bottle of salsa

Fat can of green chile enchilada sauce

Shredded Mexican cheese (1 ½ or 2 cups)

Fresh cilantro

Onion

Can of refried beans

Sour cream

 

Fire up the crock pot and pour in that whole huge bottle of salsa. Trim all the nastiness off of the chicken (you know, the fat, and those gross white vein-lookin’ things, GAG!), wash the chicken, and throw it into the crock pot. Let it cook for about four hours.

In the meantime, get your other ingredients ready. Wash the HELL out of the cilantro (use your sprayer, wash and move it around and wash. I NEVER trust “pre-washed” produce. I once found an itsy-bitsy frog in my salad. FUCK ME that was gross!!! But I digress.) Hold the stems of the cilantro in your left hand and the leaves in your right, twist and presto! You’ve torn off the stems, which you can throw into the compost. Put that big pile of cilantro on your cutting board and proceed to chop the living hell out of it! You need a sharp knife, believe me. Chop, chop, chop. Reverse! Chop in the other direction! And again! You want some finely chopped cilantro. Finally, put that finely chopped cilantro in a bowl and set aside.

Now I know you know how to chop an onion, and I want that sucker chopped very finely too. Just trust me!! It’s better when it’s finely chopped. Put the onion in another bowl and set aside.

Measure out 1 ½ cups of shredded cheese and put that in yet another bowl and set aside.

Pull out your rectangular casserole dish and grease it with a little olive oil.

Toss your can of refried beans in a pot and add ¼ tsp of garlic powder and ½ tsp of cumin. You can start heating up the refried beans when everything else is about ten minutes away from being ready. You know one thing that really gets on my nerves is when refried beans bubble up like molten lava. If you’d like to calm the giant bubbles, don’t be afraid to add just a little bit of water to your beans to tame them.

Ok so it’s been four hours, let’s shred that chicken! Get yourself two forks. Now remember this chicken is going to be falling apart so carefully remove one breast at a time and set it on your cutting board. Hold the breast in place with one fork and shred it to bits with the other fork. Throw all the shredded chicken into a big bowl.

Now we’re about ready to assemble. Get out a griddle and set it on the stove at Medium heat. Place two tortillas at a time on the griddle, heating a side, flipping both, heating that side, then flipping to the other side of tortilla #1, then flipping to the other side of tortilla #2. Get it? All sides of the tortillas will be heated and so much more elastic which makes for easy rolling.

Put those two tortillas on your cutting board and throw two more on the griddle for heating. Meanwhile back at the cutting board, put two good handfuls of shredded chicken in the center of your tortilla. Sift a small handful of minced onion over the chicken, then do the same with the cilantro. Finally sprinkle the shredded cheese over all of it.. not too little but not too much. You’re just gonna have to feel your way, folks. Fold the long end of the tortilla over everything, then take the right end and fold it in, so that the right side of the burrito will be closed. Then continue to roll your burrito until it’s closed, and place it lengthwise in the casserole dish.

Don’t forget to keep flipping your tortillas on the griddle as you assemble your burritos.

Once all of your burritos are lined up nicely in your casserole dish, take a moment to just be proud. Well done! That was a lot of work. Almost done. Pour the green chile sauce all over the top of those suckers. Make sure they’re drenched. Then sprinkle the remainder of the cilantro, onion, and cheese over the top of everything. Bake at 350˚ for thirty minutes.

Serve with a big dollop of sour cream on top, and some hot refried beans on the side. Don’t be embarrassed to have a satisfactory burp at the end of this meal. It’s worth it.

COBRA Is Evil!!!

So I just got the Cobra paperwork from my former employer, enabling me to continue my healthcare benefits.  The cost is SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS per month!  $700.00!!!  That’s a seven and two zeroes.   On my greatly reduced Disability pay that should just about break me.  And God knows I can’t go without insurance!  I see the doctor and get zapped at least a few times a month, not to mention a bucket of prescriptions.  I’m not gonna lie.  I want to get stoned and pretend none of this is happening.  The bitch of it is, I seem to be getting some depression hangover every time I get stoned any more.  God damn it!  What’s a girl to do when the drugs stop working???

“Hey I Heard You Lost Your Job! So Sorry….”

I know I mentioned last week that I lost my job. This is the job that I HATED and I’ve been off from since December, on Disability for “Treatment-Resistant Bipolar Disorder”. Dear old Dr. BigHeart wrote the latest update letter to my employer saying that I was completely unable to work for at least A YEAR and that was what clinched it: My employer said they could no longer hold my job open. Overall I feel tremendously relieved that I don’t ever have to go back to that job. I do have some mild anxiety regarding my Disability, which is private Disability through the employer’s insurance company. It shouldn’t be affected by my termination, but I imagine that they’ll do whatever they can to bump me off of Disability.

I’ll tell you what I don’t love: My family talking behind my back about this. I received a text this morning from my sister-in-law stating that she heard the news of my job loss from my oldest sister. Now what the fuck is my oldest sister doing talking about my business? It seems that ever since this latest “breakdown” or whatever you’d call it, my family likes to talk about me and treat me as if I’m not competent at running my life. It just completely IRKS me to think of them discussing my personal business, and even more so to think of them PITYING me!! AHHHHHHHH!!!! Time to engage some DBT skills to deal with these intense emotions ;).

How do you deal with your family infantilizing you?

Bipolar Medication Cocktails (With A Side of ECT)

I find it helpful to read what drugs are working for my fellow Bipolars. One of my most popular tags is “Best Bipolar Medications” so I know it’s something that other people are searching out too. I thought I’d give an update on what’s working for me, especially since I’ve come back from the very brink, in that I was very, very seriously suicidal at the end of January and I’ve managed to make my way back to the point that I actually have some hope for the future (amazing even to me).

When I was hospitalized in January, the psychiatrist and medical director at the hospital got out what he calls his “big guns” and put me on Clozaril 100 mg and unilateral ECT. Although this has been effective, I don’t recommend it unless you are profoundly desperate, as the Clozaril will cause weight gain due to marijuana-like munchies. In addition, I am on Topiramate 50 mg (to try and give me some impulse control over the munchies), Bupropion XL 450 mg for depression, and Clonazepam .5 mg for sleep. The Clonazepam is a recent addition, as my sleep was quite disturbed and my psychiatrist was worried that I would cycle back into depression. I took it for the first time last night and I was happily zonked.

So people, what’s working for you? Please share in the comments. Let’s help each other!

Another Day, Another Tap

Hello from the Tapping Headquarters of Boulder, Colorado. Yes I am still Tapping and yes it is still working me over. It’s so monumental to me to see a willingness to look at and let go of this old shit that has been ruling my life!! I have to say that I think one of the most powerful healing tools we can employ is WILLINGNESS!! I have spent a lot of time being stuck, being defiant, being justified in my anger, grief, pain, and/or just general stuck-ness. I have to say, I’m over it! I don’t want to do it anymore! But these feelings have become HABITS that are like well-worn grooves in my brain, the record wants to play over and over again! Tapping is helping me to let go of those old habits that for sure do not serve me. It takes courage to change! I don’t know what’s out there! I don’t know what’s next! But I DO know that I don’t want more of the same. Onward and upward!!

Holy Shit Tapping Really Works!!

I’ve had some pretty big life events in the past few days. First, I was terminated from my job (you know, the one I hate so much, that I’ve been off on Disability from). Second, this girl with the worst case of stage fright you’ve ever seen (It’s been bogging me down and making me sad for 20+years) got up and sang not one but TWO songs at Karaoke tonight (my first Karaoke experience). And I didn’t even shit my pants!!! Wow oh wow am I am a happy girl!

With the job loss, I have been tapping, saying “I am safe and secure.” And lo and behold, I HAVE been feeling quite safe and secure, not having the major meltdown like I would have in the past. While I was waiting for my friend tonight at the bar, I tapped “I can sing in public.” I can’t TELL you what a HOLY SHIT experience this was for me!! I actually SANG! AND I WAS GOOD!!!!!!!!!

To say that this has been a transformative few days would be an understatement. Tapping is really helping me to change my life! Shit that I’ve spent ten or twenty years talking about in Talk Therapy (with no change) is CHANGING!! I can’t tell you how good this feels!! Releasing the old shit that has hurt me for years. It’s like a miracle! I encourage you to Google “Tapping”, or look it up on YouTube. Do it, and then let me know how it goes. It’s Tapping, or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). It’s real. Thank God, whatever or whoever that is. I am grateful.

Tapping! Can This Heal?

I just learned today about “Tapping”, or EFT. EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques. I have some deep-rooted sadness that I feel has defined me for years. The sadness is about not being a mother, which I always wanted VERY MUCH, and has not happened for me for whatever reasons. Now, I am past the childbearing years and I am grieving not being a mother. The other HUGE sadness I have is over a domestic violence experience that really destroyed me, on my thirty-fifth birthday. The truth is that I haven’t had a Love relationship since then, and that is almost thirteen years ago. To say the experience devastated me is an understatement. I have tried so many different types of therapy to release the sadness of these two things, and I haven’t been able to let it go. But shit, I’ll try anything that might help! I really want to be free of this. REALLY!!! So, I am trying tapping now. If you’re interested, go to You Tube and search for tapping. Here’s one video I watched and found very helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfZBHWSbrsg. I am going to keep trying tapping on my “brokenness”, as I see it. I will report back the results. PLEASE have a great weekend! Peach out, homies 🙂