Better Today

I had a much better day today. Back to confident and strong in constitution, though still having suicidal visions. They are less plentiful and I can bat them to the side. Thank goodness! I hope this lasts and all my progress returns.


Suicidal visions are back again. I’ve always got thoughts, and I’ve been able to swat them away with my mantra and promise: Not an option, never gonna happen. Suicide was taken off the table while I was at residential treatment in February.

 If I’m completely honest with myself, it’s back on the table as an option. I didn’t want it to be. I wanted to keep my promise. My therapist and people in my support system keep telling me to stop playing with the idea, that suicide is already off the table.

But you don’t have to keep seeing yourself maim and kill yourself on a regular basis (every few minutes, interrupting what I’m doing). You don’t have pain that prevents you from cardio exercise that would regulate my mood. I’ve been depressed, but safe, for over 3 months since I got back. 

Now I’m waiting for the visions to get obsessional as they have in the past, and I’m waiting for the desire to die to grow, as it’s doing. 

And then I’m safe for a while. And then I’m not. And then I’m keeping my promise to myself. And then I’m putting suicide back on the table. 

I’m tortured.

Empathy Cards for Serious Illnesses

Update: Emily appeared on Good Morning America on May 21. Yay Emily!

You’ll never guess what I found! The perfect cards that all our family and friends can send us when they find out we have a mental illness, or are having a flare-up of a mental illness. Empathy Cards by Emily McDowell.
No more icky promises that it will all work out. No more friends and family disappearing because they don’t know what to do or say. Just send us a funny card that says you know this sucks and you’re here and not leaving. And you won’t tell us about some new internet potion that will make it magically go away.

Let’s make Emily’s cards go viral! All sorts of long-term, invisible, serious and/or horrible diseases are out there that need EMPATHY not saccharine.


didn't know what to say


Happens for a reason

Processing the Writing

I’ve been absent from the blog as I’m spending my writing energy on the Suddenly Bipolar book I’m working on, a memoir of being bipolar based on my experiences that I chronicled here. I miss blogging though, so I think I should intersperse my writing energy. Which might solve a problem I keep having. I’m reading posts from the past to edit them for clarity. I’m only in 2012 and I was still quite volatile then – lots of mood swings and hospitalizations. Reading about my experiences has me experiencing them again, including all the loss of no long being a pastor. I either end up with nightmares as I had them back then, about being a pastor, or I end up feeling unstable mood states and dangerous thoughts again. Or both.

I’m trying to write every day in May as something that a bunch of writers are doing – 30 or 60 minutes a day. I figured the gimmick would keep me moving on the book since I’ve been remiss on writing at least twice a week.

But dealing with fall out from the emotions tapped is so very painful. I don’t want nightmares and I don’t want unstable mood states. I’d like to think I could write the book with a little objectivity and not be so immersed emotionally. That comes later when it’s time to edit, edit, edit and you feel connected to your writing and can’t possibly take out that anecdote or whole chapter. I had hoped the writing process would be a dumping ground and a way to put my life together in a way that made some sense. Sense to a reader, and sense to me.

But that’s not happening. I think stringing blog posts isn’t working as a rough draft. Rather the posts need to be changed into mostly prose with some occasional blog posts. And right now I’m just stringing blog posts together to get the order correct so that I can follow my thoughts and feelings when I go back to work on a section.

I’m having an unstable mood and thought day after writing yesterday. I’m not sure writing every day will be good if I have to recover for a couple days after each foray into writing (or sorting as the case may be). I was reminded by my wise woman therapist that I’m dealing with very personal and emotional material and shouldn’t feel bad that it’s taking a long time or I can’t just bust out books the way compatriots of mine have done and are doing. I’m not writing about bipolar. I’m writing about BEING bipolar. Very different energy required for the personal writing.

I press onward, in responding to the unstable mood state with coping skills, and in writing. Just maybe not every day.

World Bipolar Day 2015

bipolar dayMarch 30, 2015

I’m a functioning bipolar person. I have had horrendous mood swings, rapid cycling of my moods, deep suicidal depressions and psychotic manias. I’ve had my meds changed multiple times, med washes (going completely off meds to start a new regimen), and ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy). I’ve gone through several full day and partial day outpatient programs. I’ve been in the psychiatric hospital 25 times in 4 1/2 years. I’ve been to residential therapy for a month.

But today I function well, with routines and schedules, meds and therapy, and a strong support system of people who love me. I volunteer 4 places. I go out with friends, and I spend time at home with my cats. I’m on disability for the bipolar disorder because I still have significant problems with memory and concentration, which I see in hobbies such as reading and knitting, as well as in volunteer tasks.

Bipolar Disorder is an illness. It affects how a person lives his or her life, but not the essence of a person. We still have hobbies and senses of humor. Sometimes we are creative. Always we love and need to be loved, just like everyone else. Go give someone with bipolar a hug!




A great article for this World Bipolar Day is Natasha Tracy’s Debunking of Bipolar Myths


If you see your way clear to help me pay for the miraculous experience of ending suicidal obsessions I had at La Paloma, check out my “Saved My Life” Go Fund Me page at

Holy Week Blues. Still

I’m not attendinholy weekg church today, Palm Sunday, or Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. In the past I didn’t go because it triggered grief about not being a pastor and how special it was to lead a congregation through these victorious and agonizing days. It was always a marathon, from the pastor’s perspective. Perhaps also from the perspective of those who actually attend all of the services.

So that’s the reason I didn’t attend before. I was avoiding the trigger of what it was like to be a pastor. As a pastor and during the formation process (of 15 years) I also had manic euphoric experiences several times during Holy Weeks. They were of the unity with the Godhead and all creation kind, a little like the feeling on Christmas Eve, without the delusion of a master plan I was supposed to carry out.

Now, I’m not attending because I fear the trigger, but for another reason too. I’m worried about the manic experience coming back if I go through the week. I don’t really believe Jesus is divine anymore, so that makes the services moot too. I might have no danger of Godhead manias then. I still don’t know why I fear this week in the church year. I just want inspirational sermons and community organizing and not liturgy. Liturgy might be the trigger. But so are Youth Sunday and Pentecost (liturgy again). All have to do with my loves and work as a pastor.

I haven’t processed enough. The fear is there and I can identify one set of triggers. But there’s something else. And that’s why I’m not doing Holy Week. I hope it’s not a hard one. I have a lot of pastor friends and Holy Week is rightly consuming. I just don’t want it consuming me!


If you see your way clear to help me pay for the miraculous experience of ending suicidal obsessions I had at La Paloma, check out my “Saved My Life” Go Fund Me page at

Passed the Month Mark

Ijournalt’s been a month since leaving La Paloma Treatment Center, and I’m still doing well. I haven’t written much because – happy to say – there has been little to process in this little journal of mine.

  • I had a couple of weeks of high energy while resetting routines and finding more volunteer locations.
  • I had a week of low energy as reality sank in and I got tax news.
  • I made a trip downtown to see a friend I hadn’t seen in 20 years.
  • I started to write my book Suddenly Bipolar in earnest, based on these blog posts for the last 4 years.
  • I had a week down low – depressed though NOT suicidal – and then back to balanced.

This month has been so different from what my last few years have been like! No need for the hospital to keep me safe. In fact, so few thoughts of suicide that I could very easily remind myself of my commitment “Not an option. Never gonna happen.” I’m surprised at how easy this month has been to monitor and live with my mental health.

And at the same time, each day has been difficult, for instance, re-establishing routines such as exercise and not being able to do as much as I used to (still dealing with the knee injury from La Paloma). Getting up at 6am is harder at home than it was at La Paloma, and I’m still looking for ways to keep from falling asleep on the couch for a few minutes every morning. I’m afraid I’m going to miss an exercise class or an appointment from dozing off.

When reality set in and when the depression from the equinox kicked in, I found all the volunteering I set up to be difficult, hard to bear and not fun. Compare that to today, feeling much better after the equinox and the depression lifting, and enjoying volunteering.

So, the month hasn’t been perfect. Whose life is? But I managed it, reached out to accept help when needed, and made it through. I’m confident I can handle the next month. One day at a time, of course.


If you see your way clear to help me pay for the miraculous experience I had at La Paloma, check out my my “Saved My Life” Go Fund Me page at