fill the void with toys

Depression sucks, but the emptiness is just as bad. I just don’t care about anything right now. I have no reason for feeling this way, I just am. I put on a face at work, laugh a little, talk to people, but it’s all an act. Then I find myself in the spaces in between, when it is just me and my thoughts, and in those long moments I just feel kind of numb. I might think of something funny or ironic, but the feeling is gone almost immediately.

I’m not sad, or angry, or having a self-pity-fest; I am just having a hard time feeling anything. When I get this way I need to lose myself in some activity so I stop thinking about myself. I watched football yesterday just to occupy my mind for a little bit, but that wasn’t very interesting. I wanted to write something, but no words were there. I should have gone outside to do work, but I wasn’t motivated. When I feel this way, I have no desire to accomplish anything.

I need something to shake the doldrums. I think I’ll buy something, that should make me feel better.


In addition to bipolar, I have had ongoing depression since childhood. I was emotionally abused in my early life, and it damaged me deeply. Despite my self-growth in the past few years, the abuse caused fundamental changes in my personality which still affect me negatively. But just how much should it have affected me? I wonder if I am too sensitive about it, and if I have just been wallowing for the past 30 years.

It feels that way at times, that I’m being too much of a whiner. I look back at my blog and see 11 years of self-pity. I have read blogs of other people who have had lives much worse than mine. They have problems similar to me, but it feels like they have earned their pain and suffering, while I just try to claim it unsuccessfully. Looking at other people’s stories makes me feel like I don’t deserve to feel bad for the losses I have experienced.

This is the danger in comparing people’s circumstances. Doing so makes my hell seem trivial. It invalidates everything I experienced, and makes all my depression and negative emotions seem like my fault rather than placing blame on the people who hurt me. I don’t deserve that. I know there are people with more serious mental illness than me, and I know they suffer greatly. However, I don’t think that lessens what happened to me.

It is hurtful when other people start saying that your problems do not compare to theirs. It becomes frustrating when people who are ill start to diminish the problems of those who are “not as sick” or “not crazy enough”. It really sucks when someone tells you that you could have recovered by now if you only tried harder. It is unfair when people dismiss someone for not having enough suicide attempts, or for not having tried enough medications.

It hurts me when I do this to myself. It divides the entire mental health community when people do this to each other.

This is another facet of mental health stigma.

rest in pieces

The end of an era occurred this week. My trusty laptop finally died. It was the best computer ever.

It meant so much to me not because of it’s specs or performance, but because it saw me through some of the most trying times in my life. I bought it slightly used in 2009 so I could have something to write and watch movies while I was on the road driving trucks. It survived 14 months of driving around the country with all the bumps and vibration and jostling, then it served another four years at home. No matter what Microsoft or the hackers threw at it, it survived. I even swapped the motherboard a year ago, and it continued living.

Until now, that is. It will no longer boot, and I tried all the troubleshooting I could think of. It appears to be dead. It now sits on my desk, awaiting its final place in the pantheon of laptops … and the recycle bin at Best Buy.

That computer has been a lifeline for me. It was a sturdy, trusty, faithful companion. It helped me laugh and cry and be entertained during my time on the road. All the dark and scary blog posts from 2009 to the middle of 2014 were written on that laptop.

requiescat in pace, my old friend.



Not feeling very positive about things right now … as I posted on the other blog:

Originally posted on Bipolar Dad, Bipolar Daughter:

I think my biggest problem with bipolar is its chronic nature. Once you are diagnosed, it will be there forever.

Forever. That’s a long fucking time to be sick with something. You don’t get a break, you don’t go into remission, there is no cure … you just manage it until you die. And don’t forget, bipolar is often fatal for some people who are in so much mental pain that ending it all seems like the best solution. I don’t believe it is, but it sure seems appealing sometimes.

I can see how cancer survivors have hope, fighting even though they see no chance of hell of survival. People can be treated for cancer, whether by radiation or surgery, and sometimes they get it all. Sometimes people are cured. Of course there are too many sad endings, and too many people die from cancer.

The world needs to understand…

View original 153 more words

damaged goods

Since I was a kid, I always knew there was something wrong with me. I didn’t fit in well, I was awkward and anxious, I was depressed and angry, and I had deep pain inside. There were times when I felt like I was getting better, but then other times I realized I had not healed at all.

Despite my varying self-awareness of my problems, I guess I didn’t really consider myself damaged until I was diagnosed with bipolar. At last I had an explanation for why I felt so broken, but it didn’t make me feel any better. At first I started learning as much as I could about the disease, but as my treatment stalled I felt like I would never be well.

I have become more stable in the past few years, but with the increase in other symptoms I still feel just as damaged. I have dealt with some of the underlying childhood issues, but I still have ongoing psychological problems on top of the bipolar and anxiety.

I know if I wasn’t already married I would never have any long-term relationships because I’m too difficult to get to know, and I put up too many barriers for people to get through. After all, who would want someone as messed-up as me? I’m sure Anne has regrets, but it is a testament to her capacity for love that she didn’t leave me long ago.

in the barrel at bipolar falls

Nicole is still in her treatment program (see this post). We have been making sure she takes her medicine on time every day, we wake her up, we tell her to do things and she doesn’t listen. In short, we are forced to parent her as if she is still a kid. I guess it is a tough age, caught between adult responsibilities and childhood ideals, but it is tough for my wife and I also.

We were supposed to take the fish-in-laws to Niagara Falls this week for their 50th anniversary, but we canceled that as soon as Nicole went to the hospital 2 weeks ago. I don’t want to make a big deal about it, because I don’t want Nicole to feel guilty about us not going, then get depressed over that. I want to help her stabilize her fragile emotional state, not make things worse.

Nicole still needs supervision. It is a tough concept to swallow, because I hoped we would be beyond that point by now, but bipolar fucks everything up as usual. There is no way we could have left her alone for four days without someone to help her. Dan is still here and could help, but I don’t want to put that responsibility on him.

In the meantime, I feel like I’m in the barrel headed over the falls. Bills, parenting, my own mental health problems, disagreements over money, never-ending chores at home, etc. Ugh. I need a solo vacation, but it is not possible right now.

after the hospital

I wrote the previous post last Friday night. At the time I didn’t realize Nicole was on her way into a frightening spiral which would result in her first hospital visit. I guess her confrontational attitude and her anger were fueled by the mixed episode she was in, but regardless I know that she believes what she said.

We need to find a way to talk when she is stable, and sort through these feelings she has. I feel a need to tell her some of what I am thinking, but I don’t want to do it in such a way to alienate her or make her feel bad about herself. Again, stability.

In the meantime, I’m so glad that she recognized that she was in trouble and reached out for help, even if it was to the doctor and not to me or Anne. The warning signs were present, but I was so damn angry I didn’t see it coming. I would have felt horrible if she would have tried to hurt herself.

I guess it wasn’t as scary for me as it could have been. I’ve been in the same situation, and I know the feeling of safety that the hospital can have. I knew that was the best spot for her to get back on her meds and get stable again, so I was okay with her being there. I knew it would happen eventually, I just didn’t expect it so soon.

Now we have to pay the bills, and I have to keep my mouth shut about the expense. I don’t want her to feel guilty about the cost of the hospital visit and the PHP. I tend to say things without thinking, but I have to be careful right now, especially given my belief that we could have avoided this whole thing.

blame game

Nicole and I had a little conversation about her depression and her attitude toward my wife and I. It morphed into her telling me that my issues were to blame for her bad attitude. She said that I needed to see someone to take care of my deep-seated anger problems, then I will stop misdirecting that anger at her. She says it is my anger that causes her to refuse to be responsible for her life. By the end, we were both quite angry, and I still am irritated with her.

It irritates me that she blames me for something that is partially caused by her bipolar and partially due to her being lazy. She completely disregards the effort I have made to get over the idea that I am responsible for her bipolar. I have learned to not be guilty over her condition, and her amateur diagnosis tries to put me back in that place.

It also irritates me that she has no appreciation for the effort of my wife and I to provide for her and give her opportunities that she has wasted. She has no idea of the effort it has taken for me to just be here and alive at this time rather then running away or hurting myself.

I won’t argue that I don’t have issues, but she is the biggest source of my anger right now. When she says that her problems are my fault, it is just a big “fuck you” right in my face, and I don’t deserve that.

meow mix

One way to tell if I have a depression coming on is if I get overemotional about things, or cry at the slightest provocation.

max meow mix

I almost cried at the warehouse store the other day when I saw the Meow Mix bag. The young cat on the bag looks almost exactly like Max when we first got him from the shelter. Then a couple days later I was mowing next to Max’s final resting place, and I almost cried again. Yes, I still miss him.