Christmas is over. But I still feel like celebrating.

Hi folks! Did you ever get off of a rollercoaster and run through the crowd to get in line again? And you stand there waiting anxiously to ride again? That’s what I’m going through with Christmas. Not because I want to eat, drink and be merry, but, because I want the feeling to last for ever.

Too often people are harried and hurried and simply just are jerks about everything. But when Christmas rolls around a sense of duty infects everyone and they feel that they must not complain. That no matter how difficult the crowds, how slow the highways, how selfish the shoppers can be, all will be okay because there is love in the air.

Every year the tree stays up till way past January. Last year we had it up until somewhere around Valentine’s Day. Sure, we may be kooky, but the sense of goodwill remained. That tree gave us a sense of hope.

If we couldn’t find peace and understanding out in the crazy world, then, by gholly, we would find it at home.

This begs the question, “Why?” Why can’t everyday be just like Christmas? (Sorry Elvis, had to do it). Why on earth do we go through life bitching and moaning and cheating and stealing and being selfish? Why are the folks running this world running it into the ground? Don’t they see that their greed is hurting us all? Can’t they tell that their corporatism is destroying the earth?

I just read something today that stated that the richest people in the world just got 7 trillion dollars richer in 2017 – and that’s not enough for them! They want more so they are buying political favors.

I know this has been going on for centuries. But, please, can someone tell me why aren’t we fighting back as a society? In huge numbers? Why is it there can be a million-man march on the National Mall in Washington and two decades later we are still gunning down blacks like it was some sort of rite of passage? Why can’t we get two million blacks, whites, latinos and asians to march on Washington to voice their opposition to corruption in politics and corporate spending? What do the Bilderbergers know about us that we don’t know?

There may well come a day when people from all walks of life, from all over the globe, stand together in protest to the ruling class. But that day won’t happen if we allow idiots to vote in celebrities to run the country. And that goes all the way back to George Washington. We’ve got to do better at picking our leaders. We have to do better at researching their credentials and their claims.

We have to TAKE back our FREEDOM.

 

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Merry Christmas to All

I just want to thank all of you for being so understanding and not turning away from me. Bipolar is a mean menchen and it had me in its grips for quite a while. I don’t know how the depression got so bad because I didn’t do anything different, I was taking my meds regularly and I have people close by who truly love me. I had it all. Then that big black dog of depression decided to wake up and stir up some trouble. Thank goodness for science! Without people experimenting all the time and so many people volunteering to be lab rats I would have gone out of my mind by now.

Good news! I am starting a freelancing business. For the new year I only want 1 customer. If that happens this will have been a success. I am focusing on writing and editing and proofreading people’s literary works. Wish me luck. 🙂

If you can, come visit my website. That would be really cool. It’s at The Inkwell

Let me know what you think. Thanks

So Christmas will be good this year. There will be presents to open and a turkey to roast. At this time of year I really get to thinking about all the folks who don’t have homes, or families, or food and shoes and friends to talk to. As good as it is for most of us, it is heartbreaking and heartwrenching for many others. This holiday season please take a moment to give to a homeless person. I know they are not the cleanest folks around but they truly are nice people and many of them will smile and in their own way thank you for your kindness.

Many of them are addicted to alcohol or drugs and many are also veterans who were willing to die for you. Give them that respect. Be thankful that it isn’t you on the streets begging for food or money. I’ve been there. In many ways I still am.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

Anti-depressants WORK!

So, it’s been a LONG while since I’ve felt able to function – and – to write something worthwhile.

Thanks to my psydoc for being aggressive. First, and foremost, he has prescribed me some antidepressants. The first pills didn’t work. I got a bad rash all over my body. I think it was called Sertraline. (My memory is still full of holes) I don’t remember the brand name. Maybe Zoloft or Prozac. Anyhow, it was not the right pill for me, so we next went with Tegretol (Carbamazapine) 200mg. It has been a great change. I have some reason to live.
prescription-drugs

Not only has my attitude changed, but, I feel like I can be a member of society again. I still don’t think I can work a regular 9 to 5, my brain and my outbursts won’t allow for it, but I CAN work for myself and so I have started freelancing. More on that later. Back to the meds.

My psydoc, on our first visit, said he wanted to get me off of the Lithium because I have been on it for 10 years, and, with prolonged use is a high risk of damage to the kidneys or liver. I think the kidneys. Either way, the risk is too great to continue with the lithium so we have been weaning me off of it.

It would have been fine if we had something to replace it with. Weaning me off has led to violent outbursts and I have lost my relationship with the therapist. She was too scared of me and she doesn’t want to see my anymore. Ce la vie.

So, I am again without a therapist. Flying solo here. But that doesn’t bother me so much. I’m a loner and an independent person anyway. But I need those pills. Can’t live without them.

Now, I’m confused. I don’t know whether the Tegretol is the anti-depressant or if the Fluoxetine is the antidepressant. I’m taking them both. I think the Tegretol is to replace the Lithium. Anyhow, I am down to only 450mg of lithium (half of what I was taking at 900mg). Like I said, it has not been without incident.

I almost lost my relationship with my psydoc as well. He got an earful of my rage and he was unprepared for it and threatened to throw me to the curb. And yet, it was his fault that my rage was so prevalent because he failed to replace the lithium and left me (and everybody else) vulnerable to the rage within me. But, good fortune was on my side and he understood where I was coming from. So we are still working together. Whew!

So, now I have a website. The Inkwell — There I am farming out my services to anyone who needs helps with writing, editing, and/or proofreading. It has been a real challenge to put up the webiste, and, it was a lot of fun coding the adjusting. I still have a few things to do with it, mostly links and blog posts to do, but it is up and running. Yay!

If y’all don’t mind, I’d like to link to the site every now and again and show you what is going on.

I tell you, those anti-depressants have really changed my life. If you or someone you know suffers from Bipolar and they are not on anti-depressants, talk to the psydoc and see if that path might be helpful.  It’s a WORLD of difference!

So anyhow, it is nice to be back and I trust that I will be active again. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s stories.

Peace

SUICIDE

It’s a thought-provoking label. Suicide. Just thinking about it causes all sorts of problems. But here’us the deal. I have nothing to live for. I am the poorest of poor. I am Bipolar and constantly in the throes of Depression. I have no joy in my life. I am bored with the Internet, with TV, and with people. Because of my financial status I cannot go out to the forest to get in touch with nature. And the forest is only twenty minutes away! But I can’t afford the gas to go there. I can’t afford to get a much needed brake job.

My options are limited. I have no interest in anything: exercise, walking, shopping, eating, drinking, games, etc. My life is a waste of time. My memory is shot, I can’t work, my mind does not examine things right. I am busted cargo. Damaged goods. There is no hope. Even God is uninteresting. There used to be hope there. But now I can’t see it.

So what do I do? Sit on my ass and stare at the walls. There is no productive force in me anymore. I have no hobbies and I couldn’t afford one anyway. My life is worthless. If it weren’t for the fact that my ex and my son are alive I would have killed myself long ago. They are the only reason I am alive. For now. I don’t want to kill myself, but what else is there to do? I’m tired of this existence.

In This Day And Age

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7 June 2017 4:13pm

We are so blessed to be living in this day and age. My desktop wallpaper today is of a green field caught in a morning mist. And I can almost feel myself there with the barbed wire and wood fencing dividing the acreage up. The wall of trees stands at the edge of the mist, barely visible. This scene brings me back to Germany as a kid. The many summers I spent there were spent outdoors, playing in the fields oblivious to the cares of the world. Had I been born in the 1300s I would not have the luxury of this photo to transport me to paradise. Instead I would have to conjure up my own memories, however faint, and I am certain that I would not engage in this practice very often, so I would lose those memories. And what of the other luxuries we take for granted? Phones, Television, Microwaves?

Have you ever stopped to consider what it must have been like before technology put us here? Phones have changed since they were first invented back in the 1800s. I wonder if Alex could see the future for his device? Could he see us carrying them in our pockets and purses everywhere we go? Could he see us watching moving pictures on them? And what of those “moving pictures”? What started out as a clunky, heavy box with only black and white pictures has become high definition viewing on big screens as well as tiny screens. My wife regularly watches tv shows on her iPod and I watch shows on my laptop. We’ve become accustomed to the technology and look with anticipation to the next invention. And then there are microwaves. Back in the 1300s dinner took up a woman’s entire day. Killing, skinning and portioning the meat. Picking, Gathering, and chopping the vegetables And then spending the time to cook the food. And there wasn’t a huge variety of foods to eat. Before the 1300s the benefits of trade went to the elite (as usual) and the commoners had to make due with what they could grow or kill. They didn’t have refrigerators or freezers to store the food. The vegetables could be stored for a few days, at the most, but the meat had to be cured with salt and they didn’t last very long either. Today we have pop-tarts and frozen burritos, we have a plethora of drinks and juices and ales. We have organic foods, but wait, there was no such thing as “organic” in the 1300s because it was ALL ORGANIC – it was all natural. Pesticides didn’t come into play until the 1900s with the industrial revolution. Now we have “perfect” foods. Whereas the fruits and vegetables from back in the day were imperfect and ugly they were still used because nothing was thrown away. It was too valuable. You simply made do. Today we are so spoiled that disfigured fruits and veggies get tossed in the trash because the farmers can’t sell them to the corporations because the corporations can’t sell them to the public. We are too damned picky! Too stuck up!

But let me get back to the memories of Germany…

When I was a boy, I would visit my grandmother in a little town in Bavaria. There were less than 5,000 people living there, but there was a big agricultural plant nearby and many of the locals worked there. Then, in the seventies the town became a health resort paradise and that changed things – but just a little. The town never lost it’s small-town charm. Anyway, my oma used to make her noodle soup and I would watch. If I would have been alert I would have learned how to do it. She made homemade noodles and hung them over the chair-back to dry. She got some ring bologna from the butcher and cut it up and put it in the soup with the veggies and the noodles and it was like heaven. And I never saw her measure anything. It was just slap-it-together and enjoy. I always gained a few pounds by the time I made it back to the States.

My days outdoors were spent with rubber boots on because the ground was almost always wet with dew and puddles. And my friends and I would make friends with the cows and the dogs and the horses. It was the natural thing to do. This picture has blessed me with so many smiles and so many memories. And that is thanks to technology. So though we are spoiled and are stuck up, we are forever blessed. The next time you catch your self taking something for granted, think about what it must have been like in the 1300s or even in the days of Plato and Socrates.

Life Happens

We’re all on our own paths. I get that. Some of us are going through life in cruise control, others are bouncing along in a breeze and still others are bumping and grinding their way to the top. But I am not in any of those groups. I am in the no-safe zone, hanging on with every ounce of energy I have.

And, I feel guilty doing it.

I feel like I should be accomplishing something. Doing something productive. Building things. Fixing things. Making things work.

But that is not my life anymore. My life revolves around two doors: Mania and Depression. When I am manic, I find myself anxious, nervous and confused. It’s like  I took a few drops of Vitamin B12 and my skin is on fire, tingling and burning at the same time; my stomach hurts and my mind is foggy. I am not in control.

Depression is worse. When that door opens, I become lethargic, unmotivated and disinterested. It takes everything I’ve got to just get on the computer and reach out to someone. There are days when I am so down that I just sleep because that is the only thing I can do well. And then there are those thoughts. You know the ones. Life isn’t worth living. It’s all pointless anyway, we’re all going to die eventually, so why even bother? Those days worry me. I wonder if it’ll get deeper. Will the reasoning best me?

I read headlines. I rarely read the whole article. What’s the point? I’m not going to do anything with the information anyway. There’s no election coming up. The world isn’t going to listen to what I have to say. I’m just a dumb mental case. I don’t count. I don’t even exist.

I find myself shopping online. Window shopping mostly. It is something that “could” give me some meaning. In that sense I am buying into this consumerism that I loathe. Buying gives me power. I can choose what I want to spend my money on. That’s power. And when I have money, that’s power too. So I window shop. I must have 20 wish lists online. Everything from computer components to living room furniture. It’s all at my disposal. But I am running out of stores to shop at. So I revisit my lists and make adjustments. That keeps me busy.

But again, what is the point? It’s just time I am wasting. I am not producing anything. I have no value. My life is worthless.

And there is tomorrow ……

What triggers my mania

When I go grocery shopping I enter another world. As soon as I enter those doors and grab a cart my mind starts racing. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night, doesn’t matter how many people are in there, doesn’t matter if I am there for a few items or a whole list of things. I can’t slow down. Inside I am bursting at the seams.

Having a shopping list helps keep me manageable, but I can’t think straight. I find myself going over the items on the list several times to make sure I know what I’m doing. The littlest thing can derail me and I have to take a long pause and re-evaluate things.

By the time I get to the checkout I’m exhausted. But then there are the lines. People everywhere. Unloading their carts, bagging their groceries, taking up space with crazy energy levels. I almost come unhinged!

It’s not until I get on the road and away from the crowd that I begin to unwind. Classical music helps. Thankfully I live in a small town where traffic is usually very slow. Our rush hour consists of cars going 50mph on the freeway for a total of about an hour out of the day. Real easy to plan around.

I find that any crowd gets my heart racing. I was recently at the convenience store. It was around 11pm. I figured it would be slow – just a couple cars getting gas and maybe a couple people inside. Boy was I in for a surprise. When I arrived there were four or five cars getting gas and three cars parked out front and one parked on the side. Inside the store there were people everywhere. I had to wait in line for maybe 10 minutes and by the time I got up to the counter my mind was all messed up. I couldn’t think straight and the cashier informed me that they don’t accept credit cards so I had to come up with another plan. I was able to find a couple bucks in change and that paid for everything but the damage was done – I was again, messed up. It’s the little things. It’s always in the details.

Another thing that triggers my mania is when I miss my dose by a few hours. Usually I take my meds around 9pm after dinner has settled. But tonight I forgot to take my pills and now it is 2:00am and I am wound up tighter than fishing line. Most times when I take my pills, I get tired soon afterwards. But when I miss my dose, something happens inside of me and I am awake for quite a while. Even taking my pills doesn’t trigger sleepy-time. Instead, I am buzzing with anxiety and all I can do is wait it out.

What are some of your triggers?

Cindee’s Instant Pot® Chili

As the name suggests, this recipe was completed using the InstantPot® pressure cooker. But you can do the same thing using conventional methods. We just like the InstantPot® because it cuts our time at the stove to a minimum.

If you have a pressure cooker other than the InstantPot may I suggest you cut the times down a bit and check in on the concoction after say, three-quarters of the time stated. In our own trials we found that we had to cook the beans another 20 minutes. We probably could have saved that time by soaking the beans overnight, but we started with dry beans, and, they are kidney beans anyway – they take a little longer to cook than softer beans.

For those of you using conventional cooking methods I strongly suggest soaking the beans overnight. You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache slaving over the stove. And, going conventional allows you the opportunity to add the meat into the chili and let the flavors marry.

As for the homemade veggie stock: we used leeks, carrots, onions, mushrooms, parsley, spinach, bell peppers, and dill, thyme and oregano. We used the pressure cooker for that as well.

Without further ado,

Ingredients:

3/4 can (15 oz. can) crushed tomato
20 ounces dry kidney beans
1 jalapeno chiles, chopped w/seeds
4 cups homemade Veggie stock
3 cups water
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons paprika
2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 chipotle chilis, chopped
1/4 can (15 oz. can) crushed tomato (remainder of the can)
1/2 cup Eric’s Carne Asada Sauce (recipe follows)

Directions:

Cook the beans, crushed tomato, jalapeno, veggie stock, water, chili powder and paprika on beans/chili  setting for 30 minutes.

Then cook on manual for another 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a pan cook the ground beef, onion, chipotle peppers and the rest of the can of crushed tomatoes along with 1/2 cup of Eric’s Carne Asada sauce.

When beans are done add the beef mixture to the pot and warm for a few minutes to let the flavors marry. Like most soups and chilis, it tastes better the next day.

Bon Appetite

Eric’s Carne Asada Sauce

2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 white onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled
4 dried new mexico chile pods
1 pinch salt and pepper to taste

First, take the New Mexico Chili pods and toast them in a dry frying pan on medium heat. Do that for about 7 minutes or until you can smell them starting to burn. Then, move them into a dish with water so they can soak for about half an hour

Next, take the tomatoes, jalapenos, onions and garlic and chop them coarsely. Put them on a baking pan and roast them on 400 degrees for twenty minutes. If you are using a toaster oven you may have to roast them a little longer. What you want is for them to brown around the edges. Afterwards, place them in a blender or food processor (preferably a blender) along with the chili pods that you toasted on the stove and chopped coarsely.
*Note: concerning fire – you decide how hot you want the sauce. Leaving the seeds in the jalapenos will render a spicy flavor with heat. If you are like my wife and son, you like the heat. You can always add more jalapenos to the mix. It’s all in your hands.

Life as usual

Okay, so it’s been a month now and my wrist is still messed up. It appears that it will never fully heal. Bummer. But, I can still use it a bit. I have trouble though with door knobs and with jars and with drying my hands. Tying my shoes is a challenge as well.

I’ll just have to take it easy from now on and make sure I wear my brace to bed every night. If I am going to err, I will err on the side of caution.

 

Nothing much happening in my world lately. I haven’t been active on Facebook, I don’t get out for walks, and I tend to sleep a lot. A whole lot. Today I got up at 3:00pm. It just isn’t right. I miss the whole day when that happens.

Ich habt keine luzt. I have no gumption. No air in the balloon. Nothing brings me joy. I sound like a broken record. This crap has been going on for far too long. I want to feel free again. I want to feel the cool, sweet grass beneath my toes. I want to feel the crisp ocean breeze upon my face. I want a new life.

 

I am starting to put my hope in anti-depressants. I know there are a lot of bad stories out there about those pills, but, I have been pretty fortunate in that area. Perhaps my luck will continue and those meds will help me more than they will mess me up. It’s worth a try. There has got to be a better life than this.

The Big Black Dog

The Big Black Dog

I just learned that a person with Bipolar I deals with depression on a 3:1 scale but a person with Bipolar II, such as myself, deals with depression on a 20:1 scale. My goodness!! That’s insane. But that makes sense. I typically suffer from depression predominantly over mania. I am almost always depressed and it sucks the energy right out of me.

I’ve been avoiding Facebook lately because it is all just the same stuff: people throwing out their political views; people showing us their culinary curiosities; and people just sharing crap. I’m over it. It’s too damned bothersome. BUT, there is a silver lining. I have recently “liked” some Bipolar pages and it has given me something new to read. There are articles by folks who share their Bipolar lives and strategies for living fuller lives despite the illness. This has given me something to visit Facebook for. Obviously, I go to see my friends and family, but they are not doing anything that they haven’t been doing for the past five or six years.

So, I sit in darkness tapping away at the keys, writing monotonous drivel just to say that I am doing something constructive. I should take the advice of bpMagazine’s contributors and go outside and take a walk. Or maybe I could put on some music and clean the house. I know, I could cook a difficult and yet, interesting meal!

Gawd, I am tired of this! I want to go back in time when I smiled. When I cared about my life. When I cared about others’ lives. This shit has to stop. But it won’t. The Big Black Dog of depression has bitten my leg and he won’t let go.

It’s like this: Depression blocks your endorphin machine. Depression does not allow you to access the same pathways in your brain as, say, mania does. With manic episodes you get joy, elation, positive thought processes (albeit inaccurate, over-inflated ones). Mania is spontaneous and fun and it opens pathways to the feelings of possibilities. Depression blocks all that. There is no joy. There is no elation. There are no open pathways to positive thinking. It’s all dark, dreary, and doomsville.

I become sarcastic to a fault. I belittle my own existence. I am angry. I wish I could cry.

I gotta go. I’m not doing anyone any good.

I hope you all have a bright, blessed day.

Peace