Back to life, Back to reality 

Tell me maybe I, could be there for you oooohhhh! However do you want me, however do you need me? 

This is the song that springs to mind. A few months ago I stopped my meds. Almost cold turkey. I guess it had been a gradual build up. After checking myself into a clinic again, I started to lose trust in my shrink.  I can’t bore myself with the details, let’s just say there were a few run ins with a few nurses which ended in my writing a four page letter of complaint to the clinic head. I was tired of the ridiculousness of it all. The irony at my expense, accusing me of drug dependence whilst handing me prescribed drugs. I tore into my shrink. Wondering when he’d stopped trusting me, and if I would ever trust him again. Deep down I knew I was done. But it wasn’t until I decided to switch medications a few months later that I really knew my relationship with the medication was over. It’s been real, chemicals that kept me depressed. But I gotsta move on.

I feel like I’ve woken up from a 4 year coma. Suddenly bring able to control my emotions again, hold tears back. Laugh confidently, socialize. With adults. Out in public. Those meds made me a fraction of who I am. I lost confidence, didn’t know how to have a conversation without discussing the side effects of my meds. And I certainly wasn’t able to handle any kind of relationship. Not with family, not with friends. The slightest hint of emotional turmoil and  was done. Years of friendship thrown away. A bizarre spiral of medication to control moods, but moods responding to medication. The meds kept me depressed. To be fair, it’s a listed side effect of mood stabilizers- that’s that they can actually bring on depression. It’s true. It happened to me. 

Yes I know stopping treatment on my own wasn’t the best idea. But I knew I was done. With the meds, with therapy, with the lifestyle that comes with it. Or lack thereof.  I feel… Well I’m just glad to feel again. I feel ready. For life. A late bloomer. But better late than 10 pills a day. 

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Missing

With every blog I start, come another blog I don’t keep up with. What a year. Another stint in Crescent Clinic in Cape Town this year but was kind of weirdly a trigger for panic attacks I haven’t had in over a decade. The nursing staff made a huge drama every time I would ask for a bromazepam after an intense therapy session. The head bitch just announced in front of other patients their concern In may be taking too much of medication my shrink trusts me with at home, without them around to hand me my medication. It was all rather awful. After a week I wrote a letter to the hospital manager. Must admit he was quick to handle the situation and so they nurses started being a little nicer. Actually a lot nicer. Actually just blatantly fake. Wasn’t sure which was worse.

Turned out my shrink had also asked them to watch my intake of said medication. I almost fired him because it just made the whole situation worse. I was confused. I felt betrayed and let down. Why would he tell them to watch how much they are giving me when it was clear exactly when I had asked and what the circumstances and my frame of mind were. Is he getting old? Does he not remember he prescribes this for me when I am at home. I asked him as much. Said he can monitor my scripts. Reminded him there is no possible way he can manage my intake. How does he know if I take the bromazepam in a month, week or day? Either way, he would know if I was abusing because I would be asking him for more repeats. I don’t. I am equally concerned about drug addiction.

They also sent the occupational therapists to try and convince me I have a substance abuse problem and perhaps should be in the chemical dependency unit. This was just the pits. I am very open about the fact that I smoke weed. Yea it’s a crutch, but crutches help people walk (I saw that in a meme). But it is grown from the good earth not mixed in a chemical lab like the prescribed medication the doctors so willingly dish out and nowhere near as physically addictive either.  When I asked one of the drug counsellors if he thinks it’s better for my daughter to see me crying my eyes out for months at a time, or to see me have a few glasses of wine at night. Okay a bottle, he was stumped. Please, explain to me how smoking a joint is worse than popping Valium or Xanax.  Only thing worse about weed is that it is still illegal, despite increasing research as to its medicinal properties including depression. 

By the logic of the chemical dependency counselors in general, South Africa should be one big rehabilitation centre. Those of us getting help are the only sane ones around me thinks!

  

The Breakup(s)

It’s no secret that girls are petty and downright bitchy towards one another. We are also sensitive and insecure. We also have the most intimate friendships because we have so many feelings. And by feelings I mean vicious mood swings. I’ve always been a brutally honest person which obviously created a bit of an issue when it came to female friendships. I’d much rather hang out with the boys, and to this day most of my longest friendships are with those who are the opposite of my sex. I have a few amazing female friends, but I don’t travel in packs and most of my female friends don’t know each other at all. Because when they do know each other, it’s War Games.

Over the last few years, particularly after my Bipolar diagnosis, I take no female prisoners. Being a single mother, you are oddly hovering between two worlds – your single girls friends and your married girl friends. Either way, you’re fucked. The single girls have a hard time creating mutually beneficial socialising, where they include your kid in plans to see you. And your married girl friends are super smug about being married. And so I’ve slashed my friendships quota down to almost a zero.

Indeed, I have become a bit of a recluse, through all kinds of circumstances, which is exactly the opposite of who I am. I guess over the last few years of intense psychotherapy and ups and downs of medications, I have less patience for the shallow side of friendships. Either you’re in or you’re out, and I have learned that I tend to give so much more than I receive. I am tired of taking on someone elses problems, it is emotionally draining and I need to reserve every bit of positive energy I have in me for myself. For my kid. Being in a depressive cycle means that I am super sensitive to any kind of hostility or selfishness. I’ve become ruthless when it comes to friends who can’t respect the path my life has taken. I get called dramatic, childish, get told to grow up. I didn’t realise that external or medical factors qualify as drama. But I have to put up with my family, people I can’t just walk away from, so there is not a chance in hell I will put up with friends who make me feel shit about myself. I am who I am, and I have always been that person, so please, go ahead… *remove me as a facebook friend* because that’s a drama and childish free way of dealing with a problem, right?

The Christmas hangover 38.0

Jesus.  Really, what’s a Chinese Torture chamber compared to Christmas with the very same people who make you miserable.  After a 3 year hiatus from family Christmas, this year I decided to completely ignore my bestest judgement and go to Joburg to stay with my miserable father and his functional alcoholic life partner.  It was hideous.  So hideous, in fact, that I went to the airport 6 hours early hoping to catch a flight that didn’t involve me spending an entire day with Miserable Father of the Year.  That guy has more issues than National Geographic magazine.

My family history has made me what I am today, a psychologically challenged mad woman obsessed with making them see the light.  They won’t.  Ever.  A narcissistic father, schizophrenic mother (coincidentally only after splitting from my turned-out-to-be Gay father) and pathological liar sisters.  I mean it’s a bloody circus and they always attempt to make me the ringmaster.  Well sorry for them, I have good meds and an even better psychiatrist.  I see you, fucked up family.  No wonder my life long severe depression ended in a Bipolar mood disorder diagnosis.  I mean these people are delusional, and only give me more power by attacking me at every corner, stop sign and traffic light.  I even got attacked in transit on the N1 highway.  How is it that a conversation about the difference between the N1, M3 and R27 sparks harsh swearwords directed at me (when I said that Motorways don’t necessarily have 3 lanes).  Well I’m so fucken sorry I am always right.  Is that any reason to tell me to fuck off in front of my 8 year old daughter, Grandpa?

Needless to say I’d rather cry myself to sleep on Christmas Eve out of loneliness than ever spend a Christmas with a bunch of sociopaths who literally make me crazy.  Fuck that.  My mental health is so much more important than a Swarovski crystal leather bracelet.  Which yes, I left behind to make a point – I don’t need things, I need emotional support, and you can’t buy me pretty things in the vein hope I will forget about the massive trigger you are to my mood disorder.  Well the pretty things would go a long way if you actually acknowledged the effect your gross cruelness has on my recovery.

Off with their heads, family or not!

Type 2: Cloudy with a Chance of Rain

Being bipolar is something I have to manage every day.  I’m a single mom.  And unfortunately I took it upon myself to fornicate with the devil, which ironic because our mutual child is an absolute angel – must be my side, and now I am stuck with this psycho and his equally psycho mother.  I also have to cope with my narcissistic father.  And I worry that these genes do not bode well for the future of my kids mental health.  So everyday I battle the tears, the frustration, the hurt, the racing thoughts, the helplessness, and simple tasks such as getting out of bed.  Bipolar type 2 isn’t obvious.  There are no manic, euphoric phases.  Only real life.  And then real life.  And in my experience, the only things that distinguish between the two are those that are completely out of your control.  Like life.  It’s happening.

To be honest, I find writing about my bipolar odd, because I generally tend to make light of even the most traumatic experiences in my life. When I am having a low, I can find humour in almost anything. Except my low. Nobody knows when I am having a dangerously low mood swing. I laugh, I interact, I go about my motherly duties, my duties as a friend. I am very religious about my medication and continued therapy. I’ve come very far, and my bipolar diagnosis was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. Because finally I could understand myself. Finally, I could see that it wasn’t just me. I could stop taking on everyone elses shit believing it all belonged to me. It didn’t. I’ve always been headstrong and brutally honest. Qualities I admire in others, but qualities I was belittled and rejected for. I thought it was me. The masters of our own destinies and all.

My first clue should have been the fact that my first trip to a therapist was at the age of 5. A suggestion made by the school I attended.  I remember sitting in those sessions with my mother, hearing her tell MY therapist what a nightmare I was. What a danger I was to myself. How accident prone I was. How stubborn I was. How naughty I was. Thanks mom, send me to a therapist so you can take over the session with your issues by blaming me for them. I should mention she was married to a gay man. She knew it. He knew it. But they played happy families anyway. With my sisters and myself their biggest guest stars yet. I always wondered why? Why my mother put up with my father never being at home. Why she subjected herself and her kids to the hideousness that was their marriage. Why she didn’t just move on. Why we had to be exposed to the 3am fights in the driveway. Waiting for my father to join us for Sunday lunch after a ‘weekend business trip’… For two… I would hear about hotel bills for two, we would go away for family holidays and my dad’s “friend” would house sit. On our return, Uncle X would have left a bunch of flowers, chocolates, wine, and a signed ‘welcome home’ card. I remember thinking it odd. But I was maybe 9 years old, tops. Sometimes my mother would go ballistic. Who knew why? She was always going ballistic. At the time, she was a lawyer. A defense lawyer. A female of colour during the Apartheid years. The death sentence still very much a part of what was already an impossible legal system to navigate for those of colour. My mother’s moods seemed justified… Necessary even. I mean what kind of person would come home and embrace their kids, and ask them each about their day, just after their client had been given the death sentence. So we put up with an angry and emotionally absent mother. And a physically, mentally and emotionally absent father. Somehow, I managed to be the dumping mine. Each member of my family had a spade so that they could dig up their own shit and dump it onto me. A habit my sisters also picked up. And honestly, 30 years later, it’s a habit they all have a hard time breaking.

And that’s what eventually broke me. The proverbial straw that broke the camels back. Except in this case, the straw was a champagne glass and the camel was me, and the back was my face. But what nobody ever actually asks is who put all that straw on the camels back? Who was the asshole that decided the camel could cope with more than what it’s physical being could possible allow? Well my asshole was my father. So, to simplify it. My father threw a glass at my face which shattered on impact. And that was the beginning of what was to become the worst place I’d ever been in – my own mind. Sitting with my kid in the ER on Christmas morning, after flying from Cape Town to Joburg for the holidays. Having to explain why my face was bleeding. Pulling shards of glass from my face. While my father threatened me with more violence, my sister jumping to his defense. Comforting HIM while I am bleeding all over her house. My baby wide awake, barely 4 years old, packing our suitcase to leave. It was horrific. I had always been able to keep myself together. Granted, usually with a little help from a mind altering friend. Okay, always with a little help from a mind altering friend. Anything to keep myself out of my own head. It had never been a pleasant place to be, but after this, my mind became a fate worse than death.

I probably would have been okay with a few therapy sessions, weekly parties till dawn (and beyond). But things were different now. I had a child. And my father and sisters went on to tell everyone we know that I was the one who had thrown the first stone. Or glass. I would ask why this version (thanks Gerrie Nel) was being put to everyone except me, and of course anyone who is very close to me. Of course, in true Oscar, I mean NARCISSIST style, this would be denied “what do you mean, I never spoke to anyone about that, I don’t know where that’s coming from”. Um, YOU??!!! No ways. A narcissist will never admit that they are an asshole. They know it. You know it. They know you know it. You know that they know that you know…. But they don’t know what you think it is that you know because they were never there and they never said anything to anyone, ever… *insert frantic scrambling through text message exchanges for proof of whatever you (think) you need proof for. Two word: Mind Fuck. Better yet, make that one word because you’re too busy finding proof to counterclaim current and extremely confusing Mindfuckery. This mindfuckery began a year long downward spiral that eventually led to my kids friends announcing to me that I was always in bed when they were over for playdates. Of course my kid by this point was also always in tears because, well I was always in tears. Always in tears and always in bed. I had never allowed my depression to get to this. Fair enough, there were a few suicide attempts way back in my late teens… But like I said, I had never allowed the lows to get this low because before I learned to self medicate, I’d over medicate myself in an attempt to shut the depression down. Permanently.

This time was different. In spite of the meds and the intensive therapy I was undergoing, I could not cope. Eventually I agreed to go somewhere for treatment. I had been refusing before out of fear that my ex husband would use it against me. He did. He does. But I knew then if I didn’t get help I was not going to be around to make sure my daughter was protected from such male role models.  I knew I had to do it to stay alive.

Finally, I realised that abuse in it’s worst form comes from the people you’re supposed to trust the most. Those who are supposed to protect you are the very ones who know exactly how to hurt you. I could return what wasn’t mine emotionally, and used that space to find clarity and confidence in who I always had been.

It’s hard to tell people about psychiatric disorders. Society is not at a place where it accepts this. Yet we accept physical abuse from our fathers, husbands, brothers. I wish I had called the cops that night my father threw that glass in my face. If I had known then what the events of that night would trigger in my life, I would’ve laid charges against him instead of protecting him.  But as is usually the case with abuse, the victim is the one who has to heal the wounds.  To make sure they stay healed.  To hide the secrets of those who abuse us.  Because they are all too often those we love, who we yearn to love us back.  Because that’s what family is supposed to do, right?

The Eiffle Tower

My word. The Head of State really could not be any more of a clown if he tried. Now what I wanna know is who exactly is the ring master? Well, of course we now know that The French basically rigged the 2009 ANC presidential election. What’s bloody next? Why can’t this guy just bow out now? I mean he already lost his reputation back in 2006. He has built himself a nice little city where he can live out his days away from our newspaper headlines.

Come on. The Northern Hemisphere seems determined to start World War 3. Meanwhile, here South Africa sits in the middle of what can only be described as a Circus. With a President who doesn’t even have the education to spell ‘CIRCUS’. Fucks sakes. Can we move on to the REAL issues already. No wonder Oscar got away with murder. I mean what’s another victim of abuse in the midst of a Palacial nightmare. Can we get our priorities straight please, ANC. Emails and mudslinging matches and name calling??! It’s like a teenage drama comedy drama series. I just can’t watch anymore. This is one series I would just love to see cancelled, lead actor included!

*CODE WORD: ‘EIFFLE TOWER’*  What the fuck?  How obvious can you want to be?  French Arms Deal,  and ‘Eiffle Tower’ is your secret password.  Why?  Because Jacob Zuma is unawares of any other monument in the world?  Did he need a crash course as to exactly what the Eiffle Tower is?  No wonder the French think the rest of the world are idiots.  With the Chief Idiot leading our beloved country.  If it wasn’t so laughable I’d crying.  Really, what’s in store for us in next weeks episode?

What’s in a name?

Well, a lot, if I must be honest with you.  Firstly yes it would be wise to mention that I am 100% commitment phobe. I don’t really need any reason not to be in a relationship.  But lately I’ve noted that even guys names have started bothering me.  At first I wondered if I was bat shit crazy, and then it all started to make complete sense to me.  I’ve been sitting on this for a few weeks now.  I mean, you are going to be saying that name forever, should you choose to promise each other your respective  forevers, forever.  hahaha, I quite liked that last sentence actually. Anyway, as I was saying, you’ll be saying that same name every day, all day, for the rest of your life.  Better make it a good one!

Okay so this isn’t very nice because I know that nobody actually chooses their own name.  But the name Marcus?  What the hell.  I didn’t even know it bothered me till a few weeks ago.  See it’s my neighbours name and I suddenly realised that I actually never say his name, because it freaks me out.  Ugh, I know… what a fickle bitch, right?  Also, John.  Everybody has a bloody John.  Most Johns are bad news.  They are exes, drug dealers, politicians, Musician’s we’d like to throw our panties at (John Mayer, anyone?  And ,true to his name, he gets around, a lot), and end-of-relationship letters.  They even named a prostitute’s male client a John.  Because all Johns are assholes.  Also, there is John Doe.  Because when a John is done with you, you’ll wish you (or him) were dead.  Just ask Carey Bradshaw… She only called Mr Big by his name John (of course), in the very last episode of the entire series.  Because Mr Big was a Big Doos.  Even Sarah Jessica Parker had to hold out for for an entire series before Big became John.  We were all glued, felt happy, sad, frustrated with and for her.  I guarantee most of us have a Mr Big called John, or at the very least someone who knows a Mr Big called John.  I have a few mates with a John.  As do I.  None of these Johns turned out to be any kind of good idea in any way shape or form. One John even lost his leg in a vicious attempt to abuse a very good friend of mine.  Well done friend of mine.  Hopefully that John will never forget what a wanker he is. John’s behaved like A John who wrote a Dear John letter and delivered it to The John  and now you wish you were a John Doe for being such an idiot.  Think I’ll mosey on over to UrbanDictionary.com and see what they have to say about the Gospel according to John *google searches*.

Ahaaaa!!!  Just as I suspected… a few poor users also got the Be-John Be-Jesused out of them… Please note I do not take responsibility for another persons spelling abilities.  We weren’t all Spelling Bee participants at school, and some just didn’t participate in spelling at all.  We don’t judge, we can only have faith in spell-check.  Also, although I tried to use this as research, I really can’t take responsibility that some poor unsuspecting girl got herself her Dear John walking papers and now thinks that the Urban Dictionary website is actually a kiss-and-tell Dear Aunt Abbey website.  Nonetheless, it kinda makes my point.

a very extreamly confusing guy. shows that he has feelings for you sometimes, but then might just randomly stop talking to you at any time. veryy flirtatious. manwhore. willll lead you on. halarious. full of charisma. you have to love him. boys are jealous of him. girls are jealous of the girl he is flirting with at the time..
not persistant.
changes moods easily; moody.
greatest, most annoying person on the face of this earth..yet i still want to be with him..
i am soooo confused about what to do about John..he is great..but confusingggg. he constantly makes me sad, angryy, or depressed. its upsetting. is it worth it??”

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=John.  See for yourself.  This is happening!  Also, unsurprisingly, some John’s shamelessly promoted themselves as John Almighty.  What a chop John.

It’s weird, I know.  But there are plenty other names I just cannot imagine having to say for the rest of my life.  You know, I think you’ve seen enough.  I’ll keep all posted on my quest to find a man with a perfect name, although I have no idea exactly what that name might be.