Sunday, 24 May 2009

Family, friends and phobia of making phone calls.

I worry a lot about friendships that have gone by the wayside. I always made online friends easier than real world friends. Then again, cyberspace might be called my "real" world. The manic episodes that I suffered were few but they damaged friendships each time. I sometimes tried to apologise and explain myself but it was futile. I have made a number of friendships over the years and none of them are in good shape. It is a form of personal stigma. No one wants to deal with a "mad" person.

Like many things in my life, I do not set myself too many goals, for fear of disappointment and the resultant anxiety. I have calmed my anxiety by never expecting too much of myself and others. I think that I avoid going out much to avoid difficult situations. I will not make real world friends if I carry on that approach.

I always thought I had a small family. This was true in terms of close family. Since my mom died two years ago, I have my brother and his wife. I hardly see cousins at all. My brother and his wife seem not to be interested in my illness or the book I have written. I find this incredibly sad. I have found numerous cousins through my genealogy efforts. Without my brother and his wife, I would have no close family. They say you don't choose your family but you choose your friends. That is so true. In a way, I have to let go of any hopes of a relationship that will never exist. I don't have much in common with my brother and my sister-in-law. Things like this will hold me in the past but it is hard to move on. My story has gone a long way to free me from the past.

I think bipolars tend to get on better with new friends, those they met after the illness, even if they are fully aware of the history. I hope in time to be able to meet new people without mentioning my mental health. I hope I can be enlightened enough to make it a non-issue. I may work for bipolar and mental health but it will not define me.

I sometimes think that being bipolar makes me too intense as a person. I seem to talk about mental health issues to the exclusion of anything else. This is because my life doesn't have much else. I think I have to work on this. My attempts to lose weight and get fitter are giving me a new direction. Working on my diet and attending Slimming World have been good for me. My fridge is a wonder to behold. I am almost domesticated and making a lot of my own food. I feel a lot better for the healthier food and I have lost 12 pounds in 3 weeks of the program. My analytical mind is well suited to following a regimented program.. I still have trouble knowing what to eat on any particular day.

I do have a phobia of making phone calls or initiating messenger conversations. Once I start, I am fine. I found this a problem when I had to make a series of cold calls as part of my job. I usually managed it but I was not comfortable. I rely on friends to call me and that is not fair. If I force myself to do it, I don't have a genuine reason for calling. I do care about everyone but I don't always show it. I enjoy emails and I get my message across quite well. I enjoy online chats on a one to one basis. I seem to have the ability to make people feel better. I don't have the ability to engage fully and be their friend.

I have a lot to work on. My press release for the book will hopefully generate some interest in me and the book. I'll talk to anyone but I just don't get much practise. I have to be prepared to talk to anyone on whatever medium. I have that confidence now but the proof is in the doing.

I am sorry if I rambled a bit as I am inclined to do.

Take Care,

Monday, 18 May 2009

My New Web Site is up and Running

Dear all,

My new website is now up and running. It is functional as a web store and it also contains copies of my blogs from blogger. A section with useful links will be added soon. At the moment, my book will be sold by myself. If you buy with paypal, I will receive the order in an email, whether paid by paypal or an eCheque. Please take a look at the web site and sign the guest book. The colour scheme is very much in line with the colours of my book's cover.

Please suggest links that would be of general interest and I will consider them. I plan to put in links to my MDF support group, the MDF national web site, my Facebook group, and my blogger page.


Sunday, 17 May 2009

My New web site..... coming soon

My friend Lee wrote the piece for appendix I of my book. That was the perspective of a loved one of a bipolar sufferer. She kindly offered to build a web site for me. I was too much of a dinosaur to tackle it myself. She is doing a fine job and it is already looking good. She has set up a very good front page. She has also copied most of my blogs from here. I will be continuing to blog here and I hope to copy the blogs across occasionally. There is a web store where anyone will be able to order my book from me. Eventually it will change to a link to Amazon. The store gives the option to pay by paypal. As I said, it still a work in progress. Please take a look and sign the guest book. I would appreciate any feedback.
I will be setting up a set of links to other useful sites. I am open to suggestions of possible links that would be of general interest.

Please DO NOT USE the web store yet. It has not been fully tested and I cannot guarantee its full working.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Another setback for Stigma

I haven't watched much TV news in recent weeks. Now I know why. In reporting the stabbing of a pregnant woman, the perpetrator was called one of the "Mentally Ill". How dare they group a "psycho" in with the thousands of us who struggle with a mental illness. He may be in the same system, supported by the same doctors, but he is clearly a psycho. If someone is in clear danger of killing people if they skip medication, they should be locked away permanently or until they cease to be a danger.

Grouping me and the thousands of non-violent mentally ill people together with this kind of person will set back the anti-stigma cause every time. My bipolar illness makes me no more likely to be violent than anyone else. In my experience of meeting other bipolars, there is less chance than in the general population. In fact, there is more chance of the bipolar person commiting suicide.

Is it not possible that the psycho type person is diagnosed because of their aberrant behaviour? They are only defined as mentally ill because of their tendancy to attack and kill people. We all know that diagnosis of mental illness is not an exact science. It is very much based on matching an illness to the way the patient presents. If someone has a tendency to attack people, they must be schitzophrenic. The system relies on the patient to take their medication in order to avoid being a homicidal maniac. How stupid is that?

Maybe the Mental Health trust has been dragged through the coals and they have apologised to the families of the murdered lady. The media outlets should apologise to the majority of the "Mentally Ill" who are peace loving citizens who are trying to malke it through life. So many people are working hard to defeat stigma. One news report can set back the cause so much.

I hope you find this blog thought provoking and challenging. Many of us willl see through the new story but what about Joe Public? He might see the "Mentally Ill" as a threat. Before you know it, we will all be locked up.


Monday, 4 May 2009

The Joy of Sleep

Hi Everyone,
I apologise for my lack of posts in recent weeks. I have been concentrating on getting my sleep back on track. It has happened at last. It seemed to coincide with the news that my supply of books had shipped from Pennsylvania. I don't think it was a coincidence. I hope to receive the books tomorrow or Wednesday. Then I begin on the effort of signing books and shipping to various points of the compass.

It is amazing how much better I feel after a few nights of good sleep. I don't wake up as grumpy as I have been. I enjoy some morning coffee rather than needing a few cups to get myself moving. I don't fade away in the early evenings like I have been for some time. It is so satisfying to wake up after the birds, maybe even waking up as it gets light. I can't stress enough how hard it is to wake up in the dark hours for many weeks. I feel very fortunate that I have avoided the terrible downside after a long period of hypomania. I think this is really quite unusual.

I have embarked on healthier eating, having joined Slimming World last Tuesday. I am very happy with it so far. I was kidding myself that my diet was pretty good. I have learnt in a week that I was deluding myself. I think that my changes in diet will translate into some good weight loss.