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

Building Relationships

Feeling a little better. The pain is not so bad now. I still need the brace, but, I think I can get away with typing this up with two hands. So let’s just jump right into it, shall we?

Today’s bible message was again in the book of Daniel. I had already been through to chapter 7 so I didn’t spend too much energy listening real hard for every bit of information the pastor had to share. But my ears were perked up. What caught my attention was a passage where the pastor went on to another level. He talked about God being a person who hides from us sometimes in order to have us try harder to seek him out. It was something to do about building relationships. It was noted that there are times when God wants to be found and then there are times when He wants us to seek Him all the more.

I don’t know about that strategy. If it were me, I would be concerned that the person would get tired of “seeking” and end up walking away. But I am not God and I don’t know people as well as He does. I’m sure it’s a tried and tested method of His and that it works more often than not.

The whole premise of building relationships, then, is teetering on the seeker. Does that person want a relationship bad enough to continue seeking God, or, does that person lose patience with it all and say “screw it!?” I’ve been the latter quite a number of times. But, I always come back. I guess God is right.

The message centered on Daniel, Chapter 2. I don’t remember which verses specifically, but was somewhere from verse 24 all the way to verse 40-something. The pastor talked about the dream that Nebuchadnezzar had – the one with the statue of precious metals and how the kingdom of God will come to establish His reign on earth. I had read some commentary discussing exactly what the pastor said, but to hear it from another person rather than just reading it, well, it makes a difference. That is why I think it is very important to attend church services whenever possible.

Well, I’m gonna go. My hand is hurting and I don’t want to irritate it any more than I have to.

Y’all have a good day and stay out of trouble. I’ll be here nursing my wrist and hand for another few days.

Peace

Eric

Prayer Challenge

My hand is still in a brace. Please be patient.

So I started this prayer challenge. It is hosted or rather, inspired by, Max Lucado. It is the simplest prayer challenge I’ve ever come across.

http://beforeamen.com/prayer-challenge/

Click on the link above to check it out.

This hunt and peck is just too much work. Bye for now. Ihope to be back in full strength soon.

Y’all be safe out there.

Is God Working Undercover?

Okay, so I couldn’t stay away. I just have to share today’s report.

You ever have one of those days when you don’t feel like doing anything? I mean you REALLY don’t feel like doing something in particular? And then you just do it and it turns out you go gangbusters? Well, I really did not want to read the Bible today, but, when I started in I just got into it and it didn’t feel burdensome at all.

I was reading in the book of Daniel and before I knew it I had read five chapters! It was all about Nebuchaneezer and Belshazzar, his son. I found the stories so very interesting. On a side note: I have to say that my left hand and arm are sore now. My right hand and wrist are still in a brace and I am controlling the mouse and typing with my left hand. It’s taken me ten minutes to type this far. Anyway, I have to stop and rest every now and again. I don’t know how those hunt-and-peck folks do it.

So, Daniel interpreted Nebuchaneezers dreams (2) and deciphered an ominous warning to Belshazzar concerning the proper object of worship – God, himself – and was rewarded with purple and gold and a high stature in the kingdom. Which brought me to wonder, “Why do we not see episodes like this in this day and age?” Seriously, we still have rulers, we still have Christians; men and women of prayer; spiritual gifts and so many ‘qualifying’ circumstances, I don’t see the logic in God hiding His face from us.

Twenty minutes.

With the explosion of faith in recent times, one would expect to see or hear of many miracles, dreams interpreted, etc. Wouldn’t this bring more glory and honor to God? Isn’t He in the business of healings and such?

I can honestly say that I witnessed, nay, was part of a miraculous event, so I know God is real. I just don’t understand the logic sometimes. Are we believers doing something wrong? Have we missed the mark? Whatever happened to all those ‘faith-healers?’ Has God gone undercover?

I’ll stop there. Maybe the answers will reveal themselves as I read more in my Bible.

Goodnight all. Thanks for sharing.

Taking a break…..

hey folks. doc says i have tendonitis and i have to rest my right hand for a while. they put a brace on me so i can’t cheat. lol. i can appreciate the challenges faced by people with only one arm. they are heroes.

i can’t say when i’ll be back in full force. my computer habits seem to exacerbate the problem….so….maybe i neede to limit my time on the laptop. that will suck. i have no interest in ANYTHING else.

okie dokie. i’m off for a while. i love you all. stay safe.

me

Ramble On

So today I am sitting here pondering the do’s and don’t’s of life, and, I am waiting for the mailman to bring some much needed computer software. I have purchased Acronis True Image software to clone my wife’s hard drive. Her computer has been acting up lately (actually slowing down) and I think it is finally time to replace the hard drive. I built the computer ten years ago and it has worked good for her all this time but lately the computer has shown signs of wear.

On the one hand it is exciting to be in this position because I finally get to “fix” something. I mean, what is a man’s greatest joy in life but to fix things? On the other hand, it is a challenge because my mind does not perform the way it used to and I question my self at every turn. Can I truly fix this thing anymore? Do I have the mental skills to go in and work this complicated software so that the desired outcome is experienced? The whole future hangs in the balance. If I screw it up, then we have to go the old fashioned way and install everything from scratch which takes hours upon hours.

It really isn’t all that bad, but it is a challenge. I’ve never worked with a cloning program and it feels and sounds ominous.

In my younger days – my clean mental days – I would have tackled this with little reserve. But now, with my mental capacity as it is, I am afraid of screwing up and having wasted my time and money on a program that may be too hard to master.

So, I’m sitting here and I am realizing that the big black dog of depression is not so big today. I am actually feeling kind of free. Granted, I am not manic and wild, but I am feeling pretty nimble today. It is nice to not be so numb to life that everything has a black cloud over it. Today, I feel like listening to Santana. And, I want to blare it from the rooftops!

Anyway, the computers in our house are on strike. My son’s computer started screwing up over a month ago and now is so bad that he has to use the on-screen keyboard to get things done. I don’t understand. The computer is only two years old. His fan acts up every now and again and the whole machine shuts down. That started happening a year ago. I bought another fan for him in case the thing completely dies but it has soldiered on all this time. But now, like I said, he can’t use his keyboard because so many keys just don’t work. Thankfully he can use the onscreen keyboard.

I have a backup laptop computer that had its own problems after about a year into it. The fan died and it had to be replaced, so I replaced it. But in putting the thing back together a connector broke and we had to rig it so that it would function. I don’t dare take it apart again because I’m not sure we could put it back together without more problems arising. It still works but is temperamental. So anyway, I don’t do tear downs anymore. You never know what kind of challenge you’re gonna run into.

What challenges am I facing with my Bipolar today? Well, for one, my appetite is non-existent. I have been Unhungry for over two years now and I think it’s reached its peak. I might have a pear today and then eat a half a sandwich for dinner. And that’s about it. Food makes me cringe anymore. Many times I have to force the food down my throat. Usually I feel like I’ll gag or worse but I’m fine after a half hour or so.

The side effects from the pills – I have extensive shaking going on right now. My hands and my arms – including my shoulders – are all a tremble. This is present more often than not. Sometimes it’s so bad I can’t hold a spoon. It’s a funny thing. I can not control the shakes, but I can control it with both hands clenched together. Weird. Useless too. But funny.

I have racing thoughts. They sometimes keep me up at nights. I also have the same thoughts over and over and over again. Non-stop entertainment. I have dress rehearsals for conversations that will never happen. I wish I could have an iPod or iPhone tied to my brain so I could copy down all the wild and wonderful conversations and storytelling that goes on in my head. I just don’t have enough time to get the laptop, turn it on, and wait for the initializations to occur and then, finally, get the chance to type in all that I was thinking, which by this time would be half gone from my memory. LOL

It’s a little crazy and a whole lot of sad to admit that we have a problem. Doing this blog has shown me that there are thousands of people who suffer from some form of mental illness. I can’t tell you how disturbed I am over this. It’s as if God made a mistake. Many mistakes. Why should we have to suffer? What did we ever do to deserve this fate?

Sure, I am being selfish. But, it begs the question: What is normal? Who is normal? There are so many different illnesses out there, whether they are “physical” ailments or “mental” illnesses, the mind wanders when thinking about it all.

We’ve been on this earth for tens of thousands of years and this is the best we can come up with? Really? Plato and Socrates were wise beyond their years and in two thousand years this is all we’ve accomplished? It seems to me that there is a conspiracy going on. One that has been ordained from the earliest of time. I’m speaking of power – and greed. To stay in power, the “leaders” of the free world have taken it upon themselves to quash the truth, to hide the healing factors.

Consider cancer for a moment. It is a multi-billion dollar “industry.” They don’t want to find a cure because it would ruin their economic standing. So many people would be without jobs, including the CEOs of many famous corporations. So they purposefully “don’t” find a cure.

Why have all the alternative medicine doctors been found dead in the last three years? What did they know? Whom did they cure? What rule did they break?

Yeah, I’m just gong on here, but these are just questions that pop through my mind every now and again. I wish I had real answers.

I consider myself lucky. My deal with Bipolar has been above average I would say as compared to some that I have read about on other blogs. For one, I don’t have to take a cocktail of drugs to function. I take two: lithium and geodon. Although I think a mood stabilizer would help me avoid the lows of depression. But I have an opportunity to explore that with my new doctor when I meet her in the next couple of weeks. Secondly, I feel my highs and lows are mild. Sure, every now and again things get haywired, but for the most part I am as close to normal as I am going to get.

On the flip side of that, I have the issues of sleep and anger and disinterest. Sleep is either my enemy or my enemy. What I mean is that I either sleep too long (12 hours sometimes) or not at all (awake for 32 hours at times). There rarely is a day when I sleep for 6 to 8 hours. And I don’t always feel rested when doing so. Then there is the anger. I know I mentioned how my highs and lows are mild, but there have been times when my anger got out of control, and it takes/took just a small trigger to set it off! I was in the grocery store the other day with my wife and boy and they took off on me to do their own thing. I was left not knowing if they were going to get things that I had on our list so I got upset. And then that upset grew into a rage and I stopped what I was doing, hunted them down, and then let them have it. I yelled and cussed and fumed in front of children and adults alike. It was not pretty. Not a proud moment. And I had taken my pills the night before. So I learned that the pills don’t always preclude me from having episodes.

And finally, the disinterest. The lack of caring. The missing motivation. I struggle with that daily. There is just no way I can fix this. I sit and wonder and stare and nothing happens. I can be “hot” for a project for three or four days. And then on the fifth day and beyond, there is absolutely no interest in the project “at all.” It’s been a week since I last did research for my latest short story and I have no idea when I will find the energy to tackle it again. I can’t even write one creative sentence. It’s just blah. A bunch of hot air with no meaning whatsoever. I’m not one of those writers who can sit down and write for eight hours day and call it good. I am more of an apprentice who needs to be inspired to write.

Much like this blog….if you have followed me all the way down here, then you are a determined soul and I thank you. This has been less than stellar for you today, I’m sure. Me bouncing off the walls per se and saying whatever comes to my mind. If you are Bipolar you will understand. If you are not Bipolar, then this has been a difficult exercise for you and I apologize. There was a purpose somewhere in here. I just lost track of it somewhere.

Have a blessed day everyone.